An Astronaut’s Journey with Parkinson Disease

It seems improbable if not impossible: an astronaut with PD had not only been certified for space flight, but had also been certified to perform a planned space walk on the MIR space station. That morning, as I began the ascent into orbit to rendezvous with the MIR, I thought about my own personal journey leading up to that moment. It was as hard as any I’d ever faced, but one that I had never given up on. A journey that had begun almost two years earlier.

My second mission had been STS-59 in April 1994 and it was very successful. I felt completely fit during and after the flight. About six months later I went in for my annual flight physical. Everything, including my standard neurological exam, was satisfactory. Just as a favor, I asked the flight surgeon after the exam if I could have an orthopedic surgeon look at my right shoulder. (I played competitive racquetball and thought I might have recently injured it during a game). He asked me where it hurt and I told him it didn’t hurt at all. Rather, my right arm just seemed to hang without moving when I walked. I could tell I [...] continue the story

TEDxMaastricht – Bas Bloem – “From God to Guide”

Professor Bas Bloem ( @basbloem ) is a consultant neurologist at the Department of Neurology, Radboud University Nijmegen Medical Centre, the Netherlands. He received his M.D. degree (with honour) at Leiden University Medical Centre in 1993. In 1994, he obtained his PhD degree in Leiden, based on a thesis entitled “Postural reflexes in Parkinson’s disease”. He was trained as a neurologist between 1994 and 2000, also at Leiden University Medical Centre. In 2002, he founded and became Medical Director of the Parkinson Centre Nijmegen (ParC), which was recognised from 2005 onwards as centre of excellence for Parkinson’s disease. Together with Dr. Marten Munneke, he also developed ParkinsonNet, an innovative healthcare concept that now consists of 64 professional networks for Parkinson patients covering all of the Netherlands (www.parkinsonnet.nl).