Magazine article Nieman Reports

Parkinson's Is My Beat: Jon Palfreman, NF '06, Investigates Parkinson's Disease as Both an Author and a Sufferer

Magazine article Nieman Reports

Parkinson's Is My Beat: Jon Palfreman, NF '06, Investigates Parkinson's Disease as Both an Author and a Sufferer

Article excerpt

MY LIFE CHANGED ON A COLD, DARK, rainy January morning in 2011. Worried about a modest tremor in my left hand, my doctor had referred me to a neurologist. At the appointment, I was asked to perform various motor tasks, such as rotating my hands back and forth. After 20 minutes of tests, the neurologist told me I had Parkinson's disease. My symptoms were mild and confined to the left side of my body, but the malady would inevitably progress, and, in time, I would need treatment with drugs.

The irony was that this wasn't my first brush with Parkinson's. Decades before, I had reported on the condition, generating two "Nova" documentaries and a book on the subject. But to be frank, my journalistic familiarity with Parkinson's disease did not initially help me to cope with my diagnosis. I left the hospital in a state of shock.

It took me over a year to come to terms with it. The only person I told during the first three months after my diagnosis was my wife. I consulted other neurologists who confirmed I had Parkinson's disease. I didn't reach out to other Parkinson's sufferers. The fragile, bent, trembling figures I observed in neurologists' waiting rooms saddened and angered me. Was this really who I would become?

Gradually, I began to think more clearly. I read everything I could about Parkinson's disease and spoke to neuroscientists, clinicians, and fellow patients. After all, as a longtime science journalist, I was better placed than most to figure out the state of Parkinson's research and ascertain what kind of future I faced. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.