138. And on the pink cards: Downing Street, number ten…

I’ve been invited to take part in other research study.

Long-term readers – those who haven’t left me in a huff because I missed last weekend’s blog – what can I say? – I was in bed a-coughing and a-sneezing and a-feeling vastly sorry for myself – you wouldn’t have wanted to read it, anyway; it was probably infectious – tell you what, I’ll get a note from my Ma who kept sending around lemons – anyway, those readers who are still with me, despite my punctuation and tendency to digress  – those readers might remember that last year, I had a very expensive brain scan.

No? Six thousand quid? And I got a picture of my brain which the InfantPhenomenon suggested that I show to my class and get them to figure out what was wrong? Yes, that’s the one. The link is here, if you want to refresh your memory, and we’ll sing a quick carol while we wait.

“It came upon a midnight clear, that glorious song of old…”

The Christmas before the Iraq war started – 2001? – I was in a peace demonstration at the end of Downing Street, and next to me was an elderly lady holding a glass jar with a candle in it. Every now and then, the candle went out and she just relit it and carried on, which I found quite moving in its persistence. She was singing Midnight Clear, and I was particularly struck by the lines “And man, at war with man, hears not the love song that they bring”.

True then, true now. Just have to keep lighting that candle.


Right. So last year, they were looking to see if there was a difference in the amount of a particular protein – PDE-10A, for those of you who are collecting protein numbers – in a Parkie brain and a non-Parkie brain. It turns out that there is less PDE-10A in a Parkie brain, so there’s an idea if you haven’t yet got my Christmas present.

The new study is looking at a different protein, PDE-4 on your bingo card. It says in the bumph, that there seems to be evidence showing that an alteration in the level of PDE-4 may lead to the death of nerve cells in both Parkinson’s and also Huntington’s Disease. If they can establish that this is the case, then then it might be possible to regulate the amount of PDE-4, thus protecting the nerve cells.

The study will involve another MRI scan and a PET scan lasting about an hour and a half. I’ve been sent sheaves of paper, including all the usual details about what could go wrong. In case you were thinking of having a MRI when you have metal filings in your eye as a result of a welding accident – don’t! I’m sorry if that spoils your Christmas plans.

I find it immensely cheering to hear about these studies and am grateful  to be able to take part. It feels very positive, which is not true about most Parkie News. And, if you’re really good, I’ll let you see inside my brain, when I get the photo.


As I write this, the school Talent show will be taking place. In the spirit of the season, here’s another Christmas Repeat: my post about last year’s show.


Has anyone else found that the GiveAsYouLive bar no longer appears when you go onto Amazon? I’m having to go into GiveAsYouLive.com and then click on the link to Amazon, in order to activate their donation: the work of minutes, but might put off some people. Has the company done something to deliberately suppress the bar, I wonder? Any thoughts? Link to the scheme is here..

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