Contributing data for scientific research

Got my genome sequenced by the folks at 23andMe, and consented to having my data used in research studies. As a result, some new genetic sites have been identified through the sifting of the aggregate data of other folks like or unlike me.

We humans are pattern identifying organisms. So if you have Parkinson’s but not one of the gene mutations/variations known to “cause” the disease, it is only natural that we would look for correlations and associations that might also result in Parkinsonism.  So scientists mine the DNA data of thousands of people with Parkinson’s and find some additional markers

DNA and Parkinson’s – discovery by association

A related article

Not having been trained in the field, I think in broader terms – for instance, if 50% of depression diagnoses eventually become PD cases, and 25% of essential tremor cases result in Parkinson’s cases, doesn’t it stand to reason that a person with depression and essential tremors will have a greater than 50% chance of developing Parkinson’s, assuming their lifetime is long enough?  Or would it be greater than 75%? It would be interesting to see a Venn diagram of overlapping diagnoses…

Dance for Parkinson’s – some links/citations

Just posting some links to materials on dance as therapy.

MJFF blog Feb 1, on Dance for Parkinson’s

Music as medicine

Music is inherent to humanity, it would seem, and yet it still is news to rediscover this most primal of instincts helps build healthy brains and bodies.

Case in point: Pam Quinn a teacher of exorcise and dance. She bookends this video with a solo demonstration and a group follow-the-leader exercise: ACRM with Pamela Quinn and Ben Folds

Nice little demo of music as language in the middle of this longish video in which the President of the ACRM trades melodic and rhythmic phrases with Ben Folds at the piano.

(Onwards and upwards, as Aldous Huxley  wrote in Time Must Have A Stop.) 

 

Music means better QOL in the workplace

“Smarter living” is what the New York Times calls it. How music makes employees more productive.

In biological terms, melodious sounds help encourage the release of dopamine in the reward area of the brain, as would eating a delicacy, looking at something appealing or smelling a pleasant aroma, said Dr. Amit Sood, a physician of integrative medicine with the Mayo Clinic.

Since Parkinson’s is related to the death of dopamine releasing cells, it stands to reason that producing dopamine would exercise the neurons that are left, perhaps delay the progression, slow it down perhaps. Obviously this would be a good thing for folks to research.

the article goes on to discuss some workplace research:

Teresa Lesiuk, an assistant professor in the music therapy program at the University of Miami. Dr. Lesiuk’s research focuses on how music affects workplace performance. In one study involving information technology specialists, she found that those who listened to music completed their tasks more quickly and came up with better ideas than those who didn’t, because the music improved their mood.

Perhaps. I always used instrumental music at work to keep the right brain occupied while the left brain worked on logic and math aspects of the job. Verbal interruptions, or vocal music, did not seem to be as helpful as straight instrumental music. It’s a theory, of sorts.

True story: Once, while listening to a piece of music on the local public radio station during their request hour, I got a hankering to call them up and request Death and Transfiguration by Richard Strauss. The DJ seemed a little irritated by my request. It was what I was listening to that very moment, I was informed. I was a bit amused. I had just turned on the radio a little while ago and hadn’t heard the introduction to the recording. I guessed that my brain was trying to tell me something, but I didn’t quite get the message.

Richard Strauss: Death and Transfiguration