It works!

Just a quick note to let people know that we turned the stimulator on today and .. it works! We’re getting good results from a relatively low power setting, which bodes well for battery life and future adjustments as we back out the meds. That process starts immediately, with a 50 percent reduction in my levodopa intake. Incredible.

I’d be popping the champagne corks, but I have a wicked cold and feel otherwise pretty miserable. Just my luck! Drove back in the rain … I’m beat. I’ll write up a proper note tomorrow.

DBS Journal: Lighting Up

I’ll hit the road later today for Burlington, where I will arguably have a date tomorrow as important as the surgery I went through two and a half weeks ago. I’ll go off my meds this evening, and tomorrow morning I’ll have the stimulator turned on for the first time. In a three-hour session, Dr Boyd and I will explore the limits of what the device can do for me. Wea re very optimistic. Too bad about this persistent cough!

What’s Wrong with the Right

Andrew Sullivan pretty much nails what ails the Republican Party, and what passes as the “conservative movement,” in this extraordinary rant. Skip down to read the “Manifesto.” Political blogging at its best. (So much for my pledge to remain a-political.)

Read more: Leaving the Right

Why Black Friday won’t fix the economy

One of the best reads of the holiday weekend was this Washington Post op-ed piece, from the retail anthropologist who brought us the books Why We Buy and The Call of the Mall:

Consumer spending can’t drive us out of this recession. We have to adjust to lower, more responsible spending levels. We still will dress our children, maintain our homes and drive cars. We will eat, drink and have fun. But the transition to less will be painful.

Read more:  Why Black Friday won’t fix the economy

Sniffing out the source of new brain cells

Many people with Parkinson’s have a problem with their sense of smell. Scientists in recent years have identified the olfactory bulb as a place where new nervous system cells can be generated. Some think the two facts are related.

With the discovery that both GABA-ergic and, now, glutamatergic cells are generated in this area in mice, how long will it take to discover that, maybe, dopaminergic cells can be generated in this region, too?

The findings are significant because it would open up another possible line of attack toward a cure in humans: by stimulating the body’s own production of the specific type of cell that is being killed off in Parkinson’s. Converting stem cells in a laboratory is diabolically difficult, despite the headlines. Stimulating cell growth in the patient reduces the risk of tissue rejection and moots the whole stem-cell issue.

Read more:  New source discovered for generation of nerve cells in brain.