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Books, Journals, New Media
November 13, 2002

Parkinson Memoirs

Author Affiliations

Books, Journals, New Media Section Editor: Harriet S. Meyer, MD, Contributing Editor, JAMA; David H. Morse, MS, University of Southern California, Norris Medical Library, Journal Review Editor; adviser for new media, Robert Hogan, MD, San Diego.

JAMA. 2002;288(18):2337. doi:10.1001/jama.288.18.2337

The casual observer may believe that Parkinson disease (PD) is readily controlled with a variety of medications available today. But don't be deceived. Although medications usually provide good control of some motor symptoms for several years, the disease inexorably progresses, and patients experience increasing physical and cognitive disability over time.

This message is poignantly delivered in Joel Havemann's brutally honest description of his 11 year "encounter" with PD. Havemann, a senior editor at the Los Angeles Times, was diagnosed with PD in 1990 at age 46 years. In A Life Shaken, he intertwines his personal story with scientific and medical information about PD. He brings a journalistic style to the tale and explains PD and its treatments in easy-to-understand language. Physicians' clinic notes provide a counterpoint to the author's personal perspective. The essence of this book is a journey inside a patient's mind: how he views his disease, his physicians, and our medical system.

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