‘Standing proud, standing tall Standing smack dab in the middle of it all I don't worry about things that I can't change’
These are lyrics by country star Clay Walker, but they could apply to anyone else featured in this issue. No one more so, of course, than Janet Reno.
For her last five years as Attorney General, Janet Reno characteristically ran the U.S. Justice Department with no concession to her 1995 Parkinson's diagnosis. Her visible tremor as an outspoken public servant sent our whole society an important message: judge people on what they can do, not on how they may seem. And Janet Reno certainly continues to do it all, from appearing on “Saturday Night Live” her last day as a Cabinet member to running for Governor of Florida. We're grateful she slowed down long enough to grant Neurology Now a rare interview on her disease — and inspire us all with her determination.
The same goes for Clay Walker and Olympic ski hero Jimmie Heuga, both of whom persevere and excel despite multiple sclerosis. In our cover story, Clay Walker shares his strategies for keeping the disease in remission. Then Jimmie Heuga takes us on his trailblazing journey from despair to triumph — through exercise therapy. Another story introduces two brothers able to transcend muscular dystrophy in pursuit of their dreams.
While they all provide the perspective of the patient, you'll also hear the voice of the caregiver. In our SPEAK UP essay, Tom Valeo tells the poignant story of his decision to donate his father's brain to Alzheimer's research — and the scientific breakthrough that would result.
What do all these people have in common? An unquenchable spirit. An unshakable courage to do what is needed. Their stories speak volumes about life's possibilities.
Other articles put you on the frontiers of science's possibilities: Could gene therapy cure muscular dystrophy? Could embryonic stem cell therapy stop Parkinson's? Exploring these controversial treatments, we help you better understand how close researchers really might be to a cure.
More than that, there's plenty of treatment information you can use right now. We report on new guidelines from the American Academy of Neurology for who should have artery-unclogging surgery to prevent stroke, the nation's third-leading killer. We offer timely tips for emergency disaster planning in the wake of Hurricane Katrina and for disability-related tax deductions that even your accountant might not know about.
Finally, we have some exciting news of our own to report. Starting with this issue, we'll bring you Neurology Now six times a year. That decision was based on our readers' feedback that four times a year is just not enough. We distribute 300,000 copies through neurologists' offices, but if you don't want to miss an issue, we invite you to join the 35,000 readers who have the magazine delivered to their homes. It's free to patients, their family members and caregivers. To subscribe, please mail us the postcard in this issue or visit our website (www.neurologynow.com).
Thanks to all of you who have written, e-mailed and phoned us with your comments this past year. We welcome your LETTERS, your ASK THE EXPERTS questions, your SPEAK UP essays. Your voices help ensure that we continue to make Neurology Now a valued resource — and a trusted voice — for patients.
Robin L. Brey, M.D.