Alan Alda's Take on Being Diagnosed with PD - Cure Parkinson's

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Alan Alda's Take on Being Diagnosed with PD

junipertree profile image

Interestingly, Alda got himself diagnosed before his external symptoms manifested. He also acknowleges how challening it can be when PwP’s symptoms become advanced, but had this to say about where he is three and half years after his initial diagnosis. There is more in the linked interview.

"In the very beginning, to be immobilized by fear and think the worst thing has happened to you – it hasn't happened to you. You still have things you can do . . . I'm taking boxing lessons three times a week. I do singles tennis a couple of times a week. I march to Sousa music because marching to music is good for Parkinson's."

Despite the prospect of severe, life-altering symptoms, Alda says he's "not angry."

"Because it's a challenge, you know? You've got to cross the street, there are cars coming. How do you get across the street? You don't just sit on the pavement and say, well, I guess I'll never cross the street again. You find a way to do it," Alda said. "There are some common symptoms, but mostly everybody's different and each day is different from the next. One day you wake up, you think, oh, it's over, it's gone. Next day it's back a little worse. You don't know what it's going to be, but the main thing is, there's stuff you can do and I've been -- you know how I look at it? It's like a puzzle to be solved. What do I have to adapt to to carry on a normal life? And I enjoy solving puzzles."

"It would be kind of ironic if I kept quiet about this when a center for communicating science is named after me. But I think because I'm sort of well-known, it might be helpful to people to hear the message that there are things you can do. You can learn about things and not follow quackery, but find out what real science is coming up with. That helps. It helps to keep moving. It helps to move rhythmically."

He hopes by going public to not just ease the fear others might be feeling, but to also put his own mind at ease.

"I'm not going to worry. While I'm trying to say something else, I'm not going to be thinking, is my thumb on a life of its own. You know, that's just one of the realities of my life. But I've acted in movies since – it's three-and-a-half years since I had the diagnosis and it hasn't stopped my life at all. I've had a richer life than I've had up until now."

8 Replies


Sorry, posted it before I saw that you written about it Mary

junipertree profile image
junipertree in reply to parkie13

Maybe Alda’s take on PD warrants multiple posts!!! (Will be interesting to see what his sense of curiosity might bring . . . )

parkie13 profile image
parkie13 in reply to junipertree

That was a very interesting interview. Sounds to me like he has a mild form of Parkinson's plus he's doing all the right things, exercising and staying busy. Just out of curiosity I wonder what kind of Regiment of drugs he is on? I'm really glad that he did the interview it shows another side of Parkinson's and it shows that it's not hopeless and helpless. I was also glad to hear that he pointed out that everybody is completely different from everybody else. Mary

How do you diagnose before your external symptoms show up? Does he mean he just had a feeling and knew inside that he had PD?

I think that Mr. Alda helps all of us. He his heard in way none of us can be heard. I think we should welcome him

He said he first noticed something was amiss when he acted out his dreams.

I'm a little miffed with him as after watching his interview my husband told me it was all a matter of attitude!

I think he has such early PD and is so symptom free that he isn't really qualified to talk about it! As he is in his 80's he will hopefully never experience the worst.

this approach by Alan Alda is one I have been trying to cultivate myself, it is encouraging and uplifting to hear his take on our condition

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