In our latest podcast Jon Palfreman — journalist, friend of the Foundation and person with Parkinson’s — speaks with Dave Iverson, who shares those traits, about his life with the disease and his new book. Palfreman’s Brain Storms: The Race to Unlock the Mysteries of Parkinson’s Disease is now available on Amazon and BarnesandNoble.com.
Palfreman was first introduced to Parkinson’s disease through his work on the 1985 PBS documentary “The Case of the Frozen Addict" and the book The Case of the Frozen Addicts. Both tell the story of people who developed rapid-onset Parkinson’s symptoms after exposure to heroin contaminated with the neurotoxin MPTP.
Years later Palfreman began experiencing the motor symptoms of Parkinson’s disease himself and was diagnosed in 2011.
“I wish I could say I behaved in a sophisticated way because I knew something about Parkinson’s, but I behaved the way I think many people behave. I went into the stages of grief,” Palfreman says.
He quickly realized, however, that he could use his unique situation.
“My destiny was to use my training as a journalist and my insights as a patient to write something and try and make a contribution to this thing that I’d found myself in,” he says. “Parkinson’s was now my journalistic beat, like it or not.”
In Brain Storms, Palfreman serves as correspondent telling the story of Parkinson’s research and therapeutic development – from genetics and proteins to levodopa and deep brain stimulation – and he interjects his own experience as appropriate.
“Through keen and captivating storytelling, Jon Palfreman expertly shares the many challenges and opportunities that surround Parkinson’s research and gives credit to the people who have made drug discovery and development possible — most of all, the individuals living with the disease,” says MJFF CEO Todd Sherer, PhD, of the book.
Read more from Palfreman on the impact of his Frozen Addicts investigation.