The One Show: Michael J. Fox on hopes to find Parkinsons cure
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In his documentary, Billy Connolly: My Absolute Pleasure, the retired stand-up comic– now residing in Florida Keys – spoke about his difficult childhood, how he met his wife, his comedy, and Parkinson’s. “Parkinson’s disease has taken a lot from me,” Sir Connolly divulged. “I cant play the banjo anymore. It’s just a noise.” From playing the banjo to yodelling, and smoking cigars, the 79-year-old is unable to do “most of the things [he] liked to do”.
“As [Parkinson’s] goes along, it has taken more and more of what I like,” Sir Connolly remarked.
“It’s kind of painful,” the father-of-five admitted. “But you have to have a [Glaswegian] attitude,” he said, spiritedly.
“And say, well you think you’ve got me there, try this for size,” he smirked. “I just deal with it. If I fall, I fall.”
Wanting to keep on going, Sir Connolly still goes kayaking, although it can be harder for him to do nowadays.
“When I came to go in the kayak, I tumble over into the river,” he said. “It’s the way of life. You get soaked, make an ar*e of yourself, [and] get back in to do it again.”
Sir Connolly continued: “I have to behave in a certain way, so my children don’t think I’m a dead loss.”
The star doesn’t want his family to feel sorry for him; instead, he wants them to think “he does well with what he’s got”.
There is no cure for Parkinson’s as of yet, but treatments are available to help relieve symptoms.
The NHS stated treatment options can include: physiotherapy, medication, and surgery.
A physiotherapist comes in handy with helping to relieve muscle stiffness and joint pain through movement and exercise.
Moreover, assistive technology might be warranted if the person with Parkinson’s is experiencing swallowing difficulties.
When it comes to medication, there are three main types: levodopa, dopamine agonists, and monoamine oxidase-B inhibitors.
The NHS elaborated: “Most people with Parkinson’s disease eventually need a medication called levodopa.
“Levodopa is absorbed by the nerve cells in your brain and turned into the chemical dopamine.
“[Dopamine] is used to transmit messages between the parts of the brain and nerves that control movement.
“Increasing the levels of dopamine using levodopa usually improves movement problems.”
Levodopa is usually taken alongside benserazide or carbidopa, which can help to reduce the side effects of levodopa.
Such side effects might include nausea, vomiting, tiredness, dizziness, and jerky muscle movements.
Jerky muscle movements are associated with long-term use of levodopa, but all medications can lead to side effects.
People diagnosed with Parkinson’s will have a healthcare team to discuss ongoing treatments.
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