Benjamin Stecher is taking an investigative approach to his own Parkinson's diagnosis. He writes in a new blog post on the Journal of Parkinson's Disease website:
For the past six months, I have been recording and transcribing interviews with a wide variety of Parkinson's specialists and biomedical researchers. It has been an incredibly enlightening experience that has given me insights into my own journey with Parkinson's disease, as well as the future of biomedical science ...
We are living through an explosion in our understanding of the brain and its associated biology. Entire fields of research have popped up in the last few decades that would have been solely the domain of science fiction a mere generation ago. Optogenetics, neuromodulation, iPS cell therapy, neuroimmunology, gene therapy, brain organoids, etc., etc. Each has brought with it some profound new insights into how we work and what goes wrong as we age. They have also given us reason to believe that one day we will be able to properly treat this and other diseases.
Stecher lists takeaways from his interviews with experts, including many Michael J. Fox Foundation (MJFF) advisors and grantees.
MJFF CEO Todd Sherer, PhD, commented on the shift to understand and treat Parkinson's more by its biology than its clinical symptoms, which could help develop and test precision medicine approaches.
"We need to move this beyond phenomenology [looking at experience] and into understanding by identifying biological subgroups of the disease and then develop very specific biological targets against that subgroup," he said.