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Vatican Confirms Pope Has Parkinson's Disease
Yahoo News (AP) ^ | 16 May 2003 | Yahoo News (AP)

Posted on 05/17/2003 12:25:13 PM PDT by AmericanInTokyo

By NICOLE WINFIELD, Associated Press Writer

VATICAN CITY - Pope John Paul II has used prayer to cope with his advancing age and Parkinson's disease, a top Vatican official said in published remarks Saturday — the first time a senior official has publicly acknowledged the pontiff suffers from the degenerative disease.

Cardinal Giovanni Battista Re, head of the Congregation of Bishops, made the comments in an interview with the Milan daily newspaper Corriere della Sera on the eve of the pope's 83rd birthday.

"If we want to look for the secret weapon that has allowed him to beat the years and Parkinson's, we must look to prayer: He puts himself in the hands of God and feels God and the Madonna (news - web sites) by his side in the path of life," he was quoted as saying.

Vatican has never officially attributed the source of the pope's trembling hands and slurred speech — typical symptoms of Parkinson's.

The cause of Parkinson's is unknown, but it results from the degeneration of nerve cells that produce a neurotransmitter called dopamine, which is needed to control muscle activity.

Symptoms of the disorder, which afflicts about 500,000 Americans, include tremors, stiffness and a shuffling gait.

Vatican officials have cited the pope's need for privacy as the reason they have not described his physical condition.

Several years ago, papal spokesman Joaquin Navarro-Valls, who has a medical degree, said the pope may have an "extra pyramidal syndrome" — which could be one of many problems, including Parkinson's. Extra pyramidal refers to the part of the motor system that controls non-voluntary movement.

Doctors watching the pope from afar, however, have said the problem clearly was Parkinson's.

The pontiff also has crippling knee and hip ailments which have made it virtually impossible for him to walk.

Calls placed to the Vatican spokesman seeking comment on Re's remarks were not returned Saturday.

Despite his age and ailments, John Paul has appeared remarkably well in recent months — seeming stronger and speaking more clearly. The Vatican has attributed those improvements to more rest and physical therapy.

He still keeps up a vigorous work schedule and is due to make his 100th foreign trip — to Croatia — in June.

The Vatican also said there was a strong chance that John Paul in August would visit Mongolia, a predominantly Buddhist Asian nation with a Catholic community of fewer than 200 people.

But in an interview with the La Stampa daily newspaper Saturday, Navarro-Valls said the threat of the severe acute respiratory syndrome, or SARS (news - web sites), virus spreading through Asia might scuttle the visit.

"We haven't officially announced the visit. Mongolia might be included by the World Health Organization (news - web sites) among the countries at risk for SARS. We'll have to see," Navarro-Valls said.

The Vatican also was seeking agreement for a stopover in Russia en route to Mongolia — a visit long desired by John Paul as part of his efforts to promote greater Christian unity.

A Russia visit so far has been thwarted by opposition from Russia's Orthodox Church, which accuses the Roman Catholic Church of trying to gain converts in traditionally Orthodox lands in the former Soviet Union.

No pope has ever visited Russia.


TOPICS: Breaking News; Culture/Society; Foreign Affairs; Government; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: age; parkinsons; pope; report; russia; sickness; sunset; vatican
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1 posted on 05/17/2003 12:25:13 PM PDT by AmericanInTokyo
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To: AmericanInTokyo
bump
2 posted on 05/17/2003 12:28:24 PM PDT by stands2reason
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To: AmericanInTokyo
Parkinson's isn't pretty but it can be controlled with appropriate drugs. At his age its amazing the Pope has a full schedule that would tax a 15 year old's abilities. Then again at 83 you should be able to enjoy whatever years left God has given you.
3 posted on 05/17/2003 12:28:54 PM PDT by goldstategop ( In Memory Of A Dearly Beloved Friend Who Lives On In My Heart Forever)
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Comment #4 Removed by Moderator

To: AmericanInTokyo
He puts himself in the hands of God and feels God and the Madonna (news - web sites) by his side in the path of life," he was quoted as saying.

If you click on that link in the Yahoo page, I don't think it was that Madonna this person was referring to.

5 posted on 05/17/2003 12:33:33 PM PDT by tdadams
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To: tdadams
Yahoo! or the AP goofed! I'm surprised, really... (sarcasm). That pop "star" has helped corrupt our society and has abused a name that is venerated.
6 posted on 05/17/2003 12:36:48 PM PDT by Pyro7480 (+ Vive Jesus! (Live Jesus!) +)
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To: goldstategop
Parkinsons affect everyone differently. Some folks go for years with slight symptoms and the help of drugs.

Some dive right off the cliff and nothing helps and some are somewhere in between.

Parkinsons is really simply a generic label for a variety of neuro disorders that center around the lack of dopamine secretion is it not?

From what I've seen, the older...the quicker. It's been obvious to anyone that the Pope has had this for some time.
7 posted on 05/17/2003 12:38:35 PM PDT by wardaddy (The Oklahoma kid laid dying in a women's wing, Just another indian biting dust)
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To: gcruse
My goodness. What an interesting private FR profile page you have there, gc (or g?) -- AIT
8 posted on 05/17/2003 12:38:40 PM PDT by AmericanInTokyo (Kim Jong Il had ANOTHER bad underwear day . He found "decapitate" in his English-Korean dictionary.)
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To: AmericanInTokyo
There must be two threads here.

I just did a Prayer Ping on this.

Hmmmmmm.
9 posted on 05/17/2003 12:38:46 PM PDT by Salvation (†With God all things are possible.†)
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To: AmericanInTokyo
Also posted in the Religion Forum - here.
10 posted on 05/17/2003 12:42:23 PM PDT by Salvation (†With God all things are possible.†)
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To: AmericanInTokyo; father_elijah; nickcarraway; SMEDLEYBUTLER; Siobhan; Lady In Blue; attagirl; ...
Prayer Ping!

Please notify me via Freepmail if you would like to be added to or removed from the Prayer Ping list.

11 posted on 05/17/2003 12:43:21 PM PDT by Salvation (†With God all things are possible.†)
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To: AmericanInTokyo
Thank you, AIT. I update it frequently. Ya'll come, ya heah?
12 posted on 05/17/2003 12:45:17 PM PDT by gcruse (Vice is nice, but virtue can hurt you. --Bill Bennett)
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To: wardaddy
My experience in working in nursing homes is that you are correct, it does affect different people in different ways. Some suffer very few physical symptoms but have severely impaired judgement. Since the symptoms seems so wide and varied, Parkinsons Disease is more like a neurological symptom group rather than a diagnosis in and of itself. I have known patients that never have 'shakes' or 'tremors'. In the end, 'old age' has many names.
13 posted on 05/17/2003 12:48:36 PM PDT by TrebleRebel
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To: goldstategop
Parkinson's isn't pretty but it can be controlled with appropriate drugs.

I've heard that marijuana might help.

Nearly half of Parkinson's disease patients who have tried marijuana say the drug helped relieve their symptoms, according to a survey of patients with the degenerative neurological disorder. Dr. Evzin Ruzicka, an attending neurologist at Charles University in Prague in the Czech Republic, reported the findings here at the Movement Disorders Society's Seventh International Congress of Parkinson's Disease and Movement Disorders.

Marijuana May Ease Parkinson's Symptoms

14 posted on 05/17/2003 12:49:38 PM PDT by ActionNewsBill (Police state? What police state?)
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To: TrebleRebel
My 75 year old uncle has it. It hit hard but now it's stabilized a bit. He describes it as "telling my leg to move and my leg waiting 5 seconds or so to obey". He still has his wits largely.
15 posted on 05/17/2003 12:53:10 PM PDT by wardaddy (The Oklahoma kid laid dying in a women's wing, Just another indian biting dust)
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To: AmericanInTokyo
I will continue to pray for the Pope's health as I always have, but hasn't it been obvious for some time that the Pope has Parkinson's???
16 posted on 05/17/2003 12:55:55 PM PDT by Mo1 (I'm a monthly Donor .. You can be one too!)
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To: tdadams
I don't think it was that Madonna this person was referring to.

Yep, there is a big difference between THE Madonna and that Madonna.

17 posted on 05/17/2003 12:58:07 PM PDT by Slyfox
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To: AmericanInTokyo
Prayers for the Holy Father.
18 posted on 05/17/2003 12:59:23 PM PDT by P.O.E.
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To: wardaddy
Ditto to your "...It's been obvious..for a long time"

And, that explains why the Vatican social-justice-leftist crowd has the Pope stating their "type" of "sock puppet" talking points.

Mustang sends from "Malpaso News"
19 posted on 05/17/2003 1:00:09 PM PDT by Mustang (Evil Thrives When Good People Do Nothing!)
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To: AmericanInTokyo; gcruse
>>My goodness. What an interesting private FR profile page you have there, gc (or g?) -- AIT<<

g seems to have a problem with the concept of religious prosciptions against certain behaviors. Telling, isn't it?
20 posted on 05/17/2003 1:01:02 PM PDT by Jeff Chandler (This tagline has been banned.)
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To: Mustang
I agree.
21 posted on 05/17/2003 1:03:46 PM PDT by wardaddy (The Oklahoma kid laid dying in a women's wing, Just another indian biting dust)
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To: AmericanInTokyo
< tinfoil > After the things he has been saying, they want to replace him. < /tinfoil >
22 posted on 05/17/2003 1:04:01 PM PDT by RedBloodedAmerican
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To: ActionNewsBill
I would guess he has been hitting the bong pretty regularly.
23 posted on 05/17/2003 1:05:33 PM PDT by RedBloodedAmerican
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To: Jeff Chandler
g seems to have a problem with the concept
of religious prosciptions against certain behaviors.


You mean like gambling?  ;)
24 posted on 05/17/2003 1:06:38 PM PDT by gcruse (Vice is nice, but virtue can hurt you. --Bill Bennett)
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To: gcruse
St. Bernard, the patron saint of drinking, has a bone to pick with you.
25 posted on 05/17/2003 1:08:10 PM PDT by RedBloodedAmerican
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To: gcruse
1.) Bennett talks about virtues (from a Catholic perspective.)

2.) Bennett gambles.

3.) Some (other) religions consider gambling to be a vice.

4.) Bennett is a hypocrite.


Now there's logic for ya!
26 posted on 05/17/2003 1:11:15 PM PDT by Jeff Chandler (This tagline has been banned.)
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To: RedBloodedAmerican
Hey! Anybody around here seen my bookmarked pages? They've disappeared from my profile page...
27 posted on 05/17/2003 1:14:05 PM PDT by redhead (Les Français sont des singes de capitulation qui mangent du fromage.)
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To: redhead
On your profile page, click "Links" on the menu bar
28 posted on 05/17/2003 1:16:23 PM PDT by RedBloodedAmerican
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To: redhead
On your profile page .. go to where it says Links and click on that
29 posted on 05/17/2003 1:16:24 PM PDT by Mo1 (I'm a monthly Donor .. You can be one too!)
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To: RedBloodedAmerican
I hear that! Is there any connection
between the saint, the dog, and the dog's
mission in life?
30 posted on 05/17/2003 1:16:44 PM PDT by gcruse (Vice is nice, but virtue can hurt you. --Bill Bennett)
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To: Jeff Chandler
I have no problem with Bennett, as I put forth on my profile. I'm just trying to see what you mean in #20.
31 posted on 05/17/2003 1:18:16 PM PDT by gcruse (Vice is nice, but virtue can hurt you. --Bill Bennett)
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To: gcruse
>>I'm just trying to see what you mean in #20.<<

In contrast with you consistantly intellegent posts in other areas of FR, when you enter into religious discussions you seem to assume the role of disruptor. Your post concerning JPII is a case in point; it was just plain mean.

In a free country, a man may do pretty much as he pleases, within certain societal limits. He is free to accept or reject the teachings of a particular religion. Therefore, it makes no logical sense to take offense at the teachings of that religion (unless it involves flying airliners into skyscrapers.) All he has to do is ignore them.

It's been my experience that when a man has a reflexive antipathy towards religion, it is often a sign of that man's antipathy towards religion's judgement of the morality of behaviors in which he engages (or would like to.) The left's anger towards the moral judgement against clinton's Whitehouse antics is this reaction writ large.

This may or may not apply to you, but your interest in ridiculing other's faith leads to suspicion.
32 posted on 05/17/2003 1:31:20 PM PDT by Jeff Chandler (This tagline has been banned.)
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To: AmericanInTokyo
God Bless John Paul II. He has presided over the stormiest time in recent Church history, and has done so very well. I pray for him, and for those who vote on his successor, that they will be fully open to the Holy Spirit when making their choice!
33 posted on 05/17/2003 1:32:36 PM PDT by SuziQ
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To: Jeff Chandler
that man's antipathy towards religion's judgement of
the morality of behaviors in which he engages (or would like to.)


I engage in the mortal sin of disbelief.  As for the morality
of my behaviour, I'm afraid too many years have passed
for me to be much of a traducer there.  Now as for what I
would like to do, I didn't know the bible had thought crimes
but, now that you mention it, that seems likely.

Atheism isn't a cover for bad behavior, I don't think, as
much as it is the inevitable outcome of unfettered rationality.
It isn't something one chooses as much as where one arrives.
If I can jig someone into questioning the more blatant silliness
of religion, such as prayer curing Parkinson's, then I think
I am duty bound to try.
34 posted on 05/17/2003 1:42:35 PM PDT by gcruse (Vice is nice, but virtue can hurt you. --Bill Bennett)
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To: redhead
http://www.freerepublic.com/~redhead/links?U=%2Ffocus%2Ff-news%2Fbrowse
35 posted on 05/17/2003 1:59:23 PM PDT by RedBloodedAmerican
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To: AmericanInTokyo
I call this Moses Syndrome. President Reagan's Alzheimers is part of the same manifestation.

Those who free nations often seem to be blocked by fate from truly appreciating and enjoying their works and results. Perhaps they enjoy a higher enlightenment, who knows?

36 posted on 05/17/2003 2:01:47 PM PDT by mitchbert (Facts are Stubborn Things)
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To: SuziQ
Pray for him that God give him wisdom to know when it's time to stay and fight and when it's time to gracefully retire. Parkinson's also affects the mind, sad but true. It was the same problem with Janet Reno, although people carefully tried to stear clear mentioning the relationship between Parkinson's and the mind.
37 posted on 05/17/2003 2:16:55 PM PDT by FairOpinion
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To: AmericanInTokyo
and feels God and the Madonna (news - web sites)

Who was the moron that did not know which Madonna was being referenced?

Unbelieveable!

38 posted on 05/17/2003 3:05:14 PM PDT by jimkress
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To: goldstategop; AmericanInTokyo
At his age its amazing the Pope has a full schedule that would tax a 15 year old's abilities. Then again at 83 you should be able to enjoy whatever years left God has given you.

An excellent observation! I have followed EWTN's live coverage of the pope over the years. I am constantly amazed that, despite Parkinson's Disease and his advanced age, the pope retains excellent vision. Unless he wears contact lenses (which I strongly doubt), I have NEVER seen him wearing glasses, despite being asked to read sermons, give blessings in 80+ languages, or read the Liturgy of the Mass. Simply amazing! How many 83 year olds can do that?

BTW, tomorrow is the pope's birthday, but he does not celebrate it. The pope celebrates his patron saint's day. In the case of Karol Wotijcza (sp?), that would be November 2, the feast of St. Charles. However, he will use the day to canonize 4 more saints. What a pope!

39 posted on 05/17/2003 3:18:23 PM PDT by NYer (Laudate Dominum)
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To: gcruse
If I can jig someone into questioning the more blatant silliness of religion, such as prayer curing Parkinson's, then I think I am duty bound to try.

Is it really duty that's your motivation? After all, even if praying won't cure Parkinson's, if a person gets relief or comfort from the act of praying, why would you believe yourself to be 'duty bound' to disrupt?

And unless someone solicits your opinion about the bad science of praying for health, why would you be duty bound to 'inform'?

Also, you use the word jig to describe your preferred method of enlightenment, why is that? That seems so odd when juxtaposed to the mood of your post.

Atheists, like Theists do their best work when not trying to recruit.

40 posted on 05/17/2003 3:45:42 PM PDT by AlbionGirl (A kite flies highest against the wind, not with it. - Winston Churchill)
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To: Salvation
Thanks, Salvation!

I'm keeping the Pope in my prayers!

41 posted on 05/17/2003 5:43:20 PM PDT by Pippin
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To: Mustang
Yeah, I agree with you the headline should perhaps read: "Vatican Confirms Pope Has Parkinson's and Is Catholic"
42 posted on 05/17/2003 6:37:25 PM PDT by ChinaGotTheGoodsOnClinton
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To: AlbionGirl
Atheists, like Theists do their best work when not trying to recruit.

That's a nice thought.  It is, however, flying with the
wind.  And what kind of kiting is that?  ;)
43 posted on 05/17/2003 6:43:31 PM PDT by gcruse (Vice is nice, but virtue can hurt you. --Bill Bennett)
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Comment #44 Removed by Moderator

To: FairOpinion
" Parkinson's also affects the mind, sad but true."

Not exactly true... The classical Parkinson’s disease normally does not affect reasoning or memory. The condition is referred to as Parkinson’s syndrome though, because there can be a number of causes for it. The causes range from unknown, to genetic, to several viral infections, to drug abuse to environmental causes and heavy metal poisonings.

If you are talking about classical Parkinson’s disease that old people get (like the pope) it affects neither memory nor judgment. Of course, old people often have memory and judgment problems, but the Parkinson’s disease does not cause them, they just manifest themselves at the same time.

Actually, even the motor functions that are affected by Parkinson’s disease are fairly narrow. For instance, a Parkinson’s patient who can not walk, can often run very smoothly, and often can ride a bike with perfect balance.

Frying your brain with drugs can cause both Parkinson’s symptoms and loss of memory / judgment. (Of course if you had any judgment in the first place, you’d not have used the drugs.)

Parkinson’s symptoms specifically are caused by a deficiency of a chemical in the brain called dopamine. The primary treatment is administrating carbidopa/levodopa orally as often as every two hours. It works really well for about the first five years of treatment, and then most patients develop a side effect to the medication call dyskinesias. This side effect can be almost as debilitating as Parkinson’s. Dyskinesias is involuntary jerky movements of the arms or legs.

My knowledge of this subject is from my experiences as a caregiver for my wife, who has had this disease for 40 years, and going to thousands of Parkinson’s support group meetings.

To those of you who think Parkinson’s means diminished mental abilities, my wife has a patent pending on an electronic stimulator device for the treatment of Dyskinesias. She’s sharp as a tack…

45 posted on 05/17/2003 7:29:04 PM PDT by babygene (Viable after 87 trimesters)
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To: gcruse
By definition, recruiting is kiting with the wind.
46 posted on 05/17/2003 7:37:45 PM PDT by AlbionGirl (A kite flies highest against the wind, not with it. - Winston Churchill)
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To: babygene
I am sorry about your wife, but I am glad that she is mentally sharp.

However, some fraction of Parkinson's disease sufferers, as the get older, do develop dementia, and of course some don't, but it appears that as the disease progresses, more and more do.

http://www.parkinson.org/pddement.htm

"Dementia, a global decline in intellect, is among the most feared complications of Parkinson disease. The behavioral consequences of dementia can be painfully obvious. Patients may be confused, disoriented, unable to be left alone. They may be agitated, delusional, moody, and disinhibited. They usually can't sleep at night, and can't stay awake during the day."
47 posted on 05/17/2003 9:46:23 PM PDT by FairOpinion
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To: AmericanInTokyo
This is not a surprise to anyone who has seen him recently.

He looks incredibly frail and weak. You can tell he used to be a big guy, but now it looks like he barely has strength to move himself.

48 posted on 05/17/2003 9:48:42 PM PDT by Jhoffa_
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To: FairOpinion
You are correct that patients with degeneration of the substantia nigra also may have a degeneration of other areas of the brain. (depending on the cause of the degeneration)

However, the clasical parkinson's refers to the brain's ability to produce dopimine, which has nothing to do with these other symptoms. (Other than whatever caused the degeneration in one area, may very well effect another)

Some old folks, regardless of the death of dopimine producing cells, have degeneration of areas of the brain that produce dementia. For the most part, this is just old age...

It is an effect that relates to ageing and the overall health of the brain, not specificly parkinson's disease. It just happens to effect some of the more sucseptible people. However, it's not parkinson's disease. The lack of dopimine (which is what Parkinson's is.) has nothing to do with dementia. It just can occur in some of the same people and may be triggered by the the same underlying problem.
49 posted on 05/18/2003 12:42:55 AM PDT by babygene (Viable after 87 trimesters)
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To: gcruse
"Atheism isn't a cover for bad behavior, I don't think, as
much as it is the inevitable outcome of unfettered rationality."

You might find it interesting to read G. K. Chesterton on the hazards of unfettered rationality. See "Orthodoxy" and "Heretics." They're available on line.
50 posted on 05/18/2003 2:55:15 AM PDT by dsc
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