Thursday, June 30, 2016

June Calender writes

Things Only Old Folks Know

The lost word or name is not a disaster,

It doesn’t mean Alzheimer’s or dementia,
It happens to everyone quite often.

That blank look, unresponsiveness is okay,

It isn’t snobbishness, anger or ignorance,
Our hearing isn’t what it used to be.

Sitting quietly as others leave the room

Isn’t disinterest or disagreement,
It’s just so damned hard to get out of the chair.

The lavish sprinkling of salt, pepper or hot sauce

Doesn’t mean the cooking’s lousy,
Our taste buds have been dying one by one.

The shrug and sigh at news of scandal

Isn’t indifference, it’s boredom with the stupidity
And arrogance of celebrities, politicians and stars.

The shaking head with the downturned mouth

Isn’t sudden onset of Parkinson’s disease,
We’re truly sad the world’s going to hell.

What those young folks, whippersnappers,

Don’t know has to be forgiven. They’ll learn
If they’re lucky enough to become one of the old folks.

amazing oil paintings of people

-- Grace Pickford


  1. It is an odd professional honor that one's fame is dependent on identifying a disease rather than, for example, developing a cure for it.

    Dr. Aloysius "Alois" Alzheimer was a Bavarian psychiatrist and neuropathologist and the co-founder/co-publisher of the journal "Zeitschrift für die gesamte Neurologie und Psychiatrie," though he never wrote a book of his own. In 1887, he received his medical degree and then spent five months assisting mentally ill women before he took a position in the the Städtische Anstalt für Irre und Epileptische (Asylum for Lunatics and Epileptics), Frankfurt am Main's municipal mental asylum, where he conducted research on the anatomy of the cerebral cortex. While there,he became a protege of Emil Kraepelin, the founder of modern scientific psychiatry, psychopharmacology, and psychiatric genetics. In 1901, he became interested in the case of Auguste Deter, a 51-year-old patient with unusual behavioral symptoms, including a loss of short-term memory. Her husband wanted to transfer her to a less expensive facility, but Alzheimer always managed to block those attempts and arranged to receive her brain and records upon her death. When Kraepelin moved to Munich in 1903 to work at the Royal Psychiatric Hospital, he took Alzheimer with him.
    Frau Deter died in 1906, and Alzheimer applied Bielschowsky's staining techniques to identify amyloid plaques and neurofibrillary tangles in her brain. The anomalies he studied became the identifiers of the disase that bears his name. At a Tübingen meeting of the Southwest German Psychiatrists in 1906, he presented his findings on the brain pathology and symptoms of presenile dementia, some five months after the American physician Solomon Carter Fuller gave a similar report at a different venue; Alzheimer's audience addressed no questions or comments to him (perhaps they were eager to hear the next presentation, on compulsive masturbation). After the meeting, he published a short paper summarizing his lecture, and in 1907 he wrote a larger paper detailing the disease and his findings, at about the same time a younger psychiatrist, Oskar Fischer, reported 12 cases of senile dementia. But in 1910, in the 8th edition of his "Handbook of Psychiatry," Kraepelin included a chapter on "Presenile and Senile Dementia" and named it "Alzheimer's disease," immortalizing his colleague's name.

  2. James Parkinson was the oldest son of an apothecary and surgeon who practiced in Hoxton Square in London. The City of London Corporation approved young Parknson as a surgeon in 1784, and he took over his father's practice.He belonged to a number of secret political societies, including the London Corresponding Society and the Society of Constitutional Information, and published nearly 20 pamphlets under his own name or as "Old Hubert," calling for radical social reforms, universal suffrage, popular representation in the House of Commons, and the institution of annual parliaments. In 1794 he was examined under oath by prime minister William Pitt and the Privy Council to give evidence in the "popgun plot" to assassinate George III with a poisoned dart. No charges were brought against Parkinson, but several of his colleagues were imprisoned for months before being acquitted. He continued to crusade for legal protection for the mentally ill, as well as their doctors and families, and other social aspects of the medical profession, but from 1799 he began publishing scientific rather than political papers, including early research on gout in 1805. In 1812 he assisted his son with the first described case of appendicitis in English, and the first instance in which perforation was shown to be the cause of death. In 1804, the first volume of his "Organic Remains of a Former World" was published, the first popular English account of fossils; he published new editions in 1808 and 1811, and in 1822 his "Outlines of Oryctology: an Introduction to the Study of Fossil Organic Remains, especially of those found in British Strata" came out. On 13 November 1807, Parkinson, Sir Humphry Davy, Arthur Aikin, George Bellas Greenough and others met at the Freemasons' Tavern in London, the first meeting of the Geological Society of London, and he contibuted papers to the 1st, 2nd, and 5th volumes of its "Transactions." He also had catastrophist papers published in William Nicholson's "A Journal of Natural Philosophy, Chemistry and the Arts." In honor of his pioneering work in the field, several fossils, including that of a turtle (puppigerus) found in the London Clay on the Isle of Sheppey, were named for Parkinson. His 1817 work, "An Essay on the Shaking Palsy," was the first systematic description of what he called "paralysis agitans," in which he reported on three of his own patients and three others he observed on the streets. Six decades later, the "the Napoléon of the neuroses," Jean-Martin Charcot, considered to be the founder of modern neurology (whose name has been associated with at least 15 medical eponyms, including Charcot–Marie–Tooth disease and Charcot disease [amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, "Lou Gehrig's disease"]) renamed paralysis agitans "Parkinson's disease."
    He was buried in an unknown grave, but World Parkinson's Day is held every year on his birthday, 11 April.


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