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photo Parkinson's: Lynda's Story
By David Tucker
Canadian Broadcasting Company

Lynda McKenzie has Parkinson's disease, an incurable, progressive neurological disorder that is slowly robbing her body of normal coordination and movement. She often experiences extreme pain, and slowed thinking that she describes as a fog over her brain. The disease has forced her to give up the business she started, and now threatens to make it impossible for her to continue with her artwork.

The symptoms of Parkinson's are caused by the death of brain cells that manufacture the substance dopamine. Medical treatment for the disease has changed little in forty years, usually employing drugs which replace or mimic dopamine in the brain. Though these medications slowed Lynda's symptoms initially, their effect is decreasing, and she is beginning to experience side effects as her dosage is increased. Now she has the opportunity to participate in an international clinical study to test the effectiveness of a controversial surgical procedure transplanting fetal cells directly into the brain. Because this is a clinical trial, however, she will have to live for a year not knowing whether she has received the actual cells or a placebo — and uncertain of what will happen next.

There are no guarantees. This moving and provocative documentary follows Lynda, and her husband and caregiver Al, on their three-year odyssey of challenges, disappointments, and hope.

46 minutes
© 1999
Purchase $199 VHS
Order No. QA-422
ISBN (VHS) 1-57295-422-1

Reviews
"A good starting point for group discussions about ethical issues such as fetal transplants. It accommodates the perspectives of the patient and her family, and others including primary care physicians, researchers, and the views of opponents to the experiment." Educational Media Reviews Online

Awards & Conference Screenings
Bronze Award, Columbus International Film Festival
Picture This Film Festival
Gemini Awards Nominee

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