OPINION

OPINION | MIKE MASTERSON: Good news for Parkinson’s


My late friend Sheridan Garrison of Harrison suffered from Parkinson's disease in the final period of his life, as have other friends over the years. It was sad and difficult for those who knew and loved him to watch a man who had been so energetic, vibrant and active to take a sudden downturn in every way.

Having known a number of Parkinson's sufferers over my life, I've always felt sympathy for their loss of mobility, trembling hands and other effects in dealing with this debilitating and incurable ailment that is on the rise across our country.

While there have been treatments to help ease some effects, medical researchers overseas have announced a hopeful breakthrough in the fight against Parkinson's. It's reported that a 63-year-old Frenchman named Marc Gauthier struggled to walk or move easily due to the disease. However, through an experimental spinal implant, he has regained mobility. This neuroprosthetic has been miraculously life-changing. "I'm now independent. I can leave my home, run errands. I even go on foot," he told the Reuters news service at Lausanne University Hospital.

The surgically installed electrode implant is said to detect Gauthier's brain command signals to help activate and stimulate regions of the spine, thus prompting his leg movements. It's been compared in some ways to a heart pacemaker for mobility.

During trials, the tailored spinal stimulation improved Gauthier's gait and mobility along with those of another patient, after programming and training.

Dr. Jean-Philippe Langevin, who was not involved in the research, told Dan Gray of Medical News Today that these kinds of emerging technologies offer hope for people living with the disease. I'd say any kind of positive advancement in effectively fighting this dread disease brings lots of justifiable hope.

Of course, additional testing and regulatory approval will be necessary before this revolutionary implant can become widely available. But the technology should continue improving with automated programming and feedback.

This would mean, with further development and approvals, that more Parkinson's patients may walk normally again. Those afflicted with the disease would be well-served to consult their physicians about researching and keeping up with this welcome breakthrough.

We're No. 2!

When it comes to the subject of not-so-welcomed news, personal finance website WalletHub has ranked Arkansas as the state with the second-largest percentage of inactive adults. It appears we prefer recliners to treadmills and such.

The study comes during National Diabetes Awareness Month and at a time when obesity is costing the U.S. health-care system a reported $173 billion annually. Too much sugar and carbohydrates contribute largely to this damaging disease.

We in Arkansas had nothing to turn cartwheels over in the report, "Most Overweight and Obese States in America (2023)." We were ranked 12th in the percentage of obese adults and in the percentage of obese children. Our overweight children were in eighth place, and the percentage of adults with high cholesterol ranked 18th.

Overall, Arkansas is ranked fifth nationally for the condition we're in.

Antisemitic protesters

Several have asked how I feel about the thousands of antisemitic college students and others flooding the streets waving Palestinian flags here in the land of the free and bleating like sheep for the eradication of our lone Middle Eastern ally, Israel, while mindlessly rah-rahing for the savage Palestinian terrorist group Hamas.

It's evident to me that perhaps half of those cheering for the butchery of innocents and extermination of Israel are pitifully ignorant of facts and truth and have been clearly brainwashed by some in the mainstream media and purported educators with agendas employed to educate them.

I saw two such college-aged "protesters" interviewed on television last week who had no idea of the historic horror that happened in Israel on Oct. 7, 2023, when Hamas violated a ceasefire to cowardly slaughter an entire Israeli village while also murdering hundreds of innocents attending a music festival while taking over 200 innocents, including 10 Americans, as hostages they still hold.

I call that pure evil committed by serial killers, valued readers.

Who do you suppose paid to have all those identical block-lettered signs reading, "Free Palestine" being carried by the ignorant throngs? Do these largely mindless minions enjoying the thrill of joining any crowd really believe Palestinians were free people under the crushing boot of Hamas?

To see thousands in America actually celebrating that kind of evil leaves me shocked and angry. It's especially disturbing that purported institutions of "higher education," including Ivy League elitists like Harvard and Columbia, as well as other universities. would allow overt lies and propaganda from such low-functioning subhumans to be taught sympathetically in their schools is beyond disgraceful.

I am proud, however, to see our nation's leaders stand shoulder-to-shoulder with Israel to defend their universal cry of "never again" referring to the Holocaust. Palestinian American Michigan Democrat Rep. Rashida Tlaib actually displays a Palestinian flag outside her office, knowingly perpetuates the Hamas lie about Israel killing 500 by bombing a Gaza hospital when evidence appears to show a failed Palestinian rocket launch accidentally bombed a parking lot beside the hospital.

When it comes to the Iran-supported animals known as Hamas, I believe it's also the definition of cowardice to abduct women, children and innocent men as hostages while also hiding behind Palestinian citizens as shields and cowering in holes beneath hospitals to launch their rockets by remote control, all to avoid facing Israeli forces.

Thank God the people of Israel feel merciful for all the innocent Palestinian lives whom they are desperately trying to safely evacuate despite Hamas' efforts to keep them in danger as shields to save their own skins. Pure evil indeed.

Go right ahead, ask me how I really feel about this.

Now go out into the world and treat everyone you meet exactly like you want them to treat you.

Mike Masterson is a longtime Arkansas journalist, was editor of three Arkansas dailies and headed the master's journalism program at Ohio State University. Email him at [email protected].


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