tv Sanjay Gupta MD CNN October 2, 2010 7:30am-8:00am EDT
this with the national security analyst. we have been covering osama bin laden. we'll have him and more of the top stories when live coverage starts again. first, we are going to hand it over to the good doctor. sanjay gupta md. it started right now. park inson's, it's like you are crossing the road, you get stuck in the middle and you know the bus is coming and you can't get out of the way. so, you can kind of freak out and go, that bus is going to hit me at some point even though you don't know how fast or how big. >> welcome to a special edition of sgmd. there's so much we don't know about parkinson's disease.
michael j. fox is the handsome face of parkinson's. he's had it for nine years now. what is he going to do with the $200 million he's raised? he dunlt do a lot of long interviews because he gets so tired. today, he had a lot to say. >> when i said i was interviewing you, people said how is he doing? again, i don't want to belabor that but you are doing okay? >> yeah, what i was going to say was that i refer to it and the effect it's had on my life as gift. people are dubious about that. they wonder how i can say that. i quantify it by saying it's a gift to keep on taking. it's opened me up to passionate
curious risk-taking person. and give me a, i wouldn't call it my magnus opus, but it's one of the most important things i have done and probably will do in my life. >> right now, when you are moving like grabbing your left leg, are you trying to tell your left leg not to move? is it something you are constantly thinking of? >> it's like whack a mole. i stop it and the other one goes. then the other leg goes. cross the leg. it's going to go somewhere. it's constantly moving it around. there will be times when it stops and be still. right now, if i wasn't talking to you, if i was sitting, i would be perfectly still. >> is that the stress part of it? >> again, it's the stuff that
fires and tells you to pick the glass. something is required of me here. my mind can't tell my brain what it is. >> when you wake up in the morning, is there a certain routine you have to go through? i mean, do you take your meds at a certain time or feel a certain way? >> it changes. for the most part, when i wake up, i have a cramping. it affects my feet. strangely enough the first sound my wife hears is me clumping across the floor. i leave a hard pair of shoes by my bed. it forces my foot to behave. i might take a half pill to get me started. then i wait a couple hours. depending on what my day
requires of me. >> things like tending to brushing your hair and your teeth? >> i have an electric toothbrush without the battery to charge it. i just -- >> put your hand in -- >> put my hand in and let it go. all that stuff, again, it's -- you just -- i'm just used to it. i'm just used to it. it's -- any of us have whatever we face in our lives. we find ways to deal and move forward. if we don't, it doesn't matter. the result is going to be the same. you are going to stagnate. >> let's take a look at how this all started. >> every morning as long as i remember, i wake up in the morning, i have somewhere to go, something to do. what am i going to do tomorrow. the alarm goes off. >> it's hard to believe it's been more than a decade since he
left "spin city" in a final curtain call. he publicly disclosed his diagnosis two years prior. the long hours on set were catching up with him. >> the stress of doing the show, it's kind of an x factor. it's going to be interesting to see it removed from the scenario. >> his decision to step away from the cameras was a dramatic change for a man who grew up on the screen launching his career in the '70s in his native canada. it led fox to america. he was known as alex p. keaton on "family ties." that selfishness saved my life. >> it drew in a third of american households every week. his work on the series won him three emmy awards.
it's where fox met his future wife, tracie pollen. the couple has been married for 22 years. they have four children. fox's tv success propelled him to movie stardom with the blockbuster trilogy, "back to the future." he followed his role of marty mcfly with 20 films. >> it was on "doc hollywood" where he had symptoms of parkinson's disease. he was in a new role, that of advocate. >> it's a winnable role. >> he works for a quest for parkins parkinson's. campaigning for the cause. his support for stem-cell research has, at times, sparked controversy. despite using his celebrity to point the spotlight in a
different direction, he hasn't left hollywood permanently. fox is still a familiar face and a line from his fine episode of "spin city" still rings true. >> it's going to be okay. i'm going to bounce back. it's not over, right? >> it's a long way from over. coming up, the moment michael j. fox learned his life was about to change fofr. >> it may sound like a silly question, but are they sure you have parkinson's?
this may sound like a silly question, but are they sure you have parkinson's? >> yes, to an extent, but it's an umbrella. it isn't -- i have textbook parkinson's. other ways i have id owe sin cattic aspects. i'm so sensitive to aldopa. over time, with a lot of patients, it's after it wears off it isn't as -- >> you have a tolerance to it? >> yeah.
it's terrible discanisius. your experience is your experience. you can't fill a box that's created for it. you can't shrink it to squeeze into a parenthetic. i'm sure i have it. but what is it? >> it's straight forward. you have a particular part of the brain that helps us with motor skills, smooth muscle movements. the brain of someone with par kinson's disease isn't producing it. as things stand now, doctors only treat the symptoms with a pill that looks like this. it's the single most effective
treatment to help the symptoms. what you have is the pill going into the bloodstream and suns quently, it goes to the brain. here is the problem. when the pill wears off, the symptoms come back. sometimes they are worse until the next pill is taken. you can develop a tolerance to the medication. there's help in trying to minimize that. think of it as a gel version. the drug gets released via tube directly to the small intestines. patients monitor their levels like with insulin and be alerted before they are too severe. it's in the clinical trial stage, but approved for use in 34 other countries. surgery is also an option for patients not responding well to medication. the most common is deep brain stimulation. i want to give you an idea how
this works. it blocks abnormal nerve signals that block it. a battery device like a stopwatch sends electrical stimulations. michael j. fox had an operation back in 1998. during his operation, michael was awake, he was talking to his surgeon. >> so, he said make your handshake. i tried to and i couldn't. i felt this disappointment that i couldn't give him what he wanted. then i said i can't. he said, we're done. i was like, wow. >> operation was over because they accomplished the goal. >> yeah, they accomplished the goal. it was early for me. i had a big tremor on my left side. fully on the left, nothing on the right. my whole life, working and stuff was about manipulating circumstances to pin the arm.
>> put your hand in your pocket. >> or busy it with something. that helped. but, it got to be too much. then, of course, i had the surgery. it diminished the effects on my left side, but true to the progression of the disease, within a few months, the right side started. i made the decision not to have another brain surgery. >> i don't want to belabor the point, but if they said it's not curative, but with stimulation we can dial it up, dial it down with magnets and possibly alleviate your symptoms, why not do that? >> just a personal thing. next time they go into my brain, i want it to be to get it done. i don't want it to be -- i mean, we were joking about when air hits your brain. the air hit my brain too many times. if there's something that they
can do in there that will be cured or restored or help progression, any kind of much more fundmental way than mechanic mechanical, a pacemaker like they have now. it's my preference. i tend to lean against it. >> you don't want another surgery unless there's greater promise. >> who wants brain surgery. >> i'm a brain surgeon. >> yeah, brain surgeons love it. >> yeah, maybe something will come through the pipeline that changes the picture. for now, i'm perfectly -- the last 20 years you told me this is where i would be 20 years after my diagnosis, i would have taken this in a heart beat. i'm happy with my life and what
i'm able to do. >> a few years ago, many people, including michael were hopeful stem cells were going to be one of those options. >> why don't you talk about the stem cells as much anymore? noun: if we all lived here we wouldn't have to worry about what's in our water. but most of us live here. so we need the brita pitcher. for healthier, clean tasting water. i know who works differently than many other allergy medications. hoo? omnaris. [ men ] omnaris -- to the nose! [ man ] did you know nasal symptoms like congestion can be caused by allergic inflammation? omnaris relieves your symptoms by fighting inflammation. side effects may include headache, nosebleed, and sore throat. [ inhales deeply ] i told my allergy symptoms to take a hike. omnaris. ask your doctor. battling nasal allergy symptoms? omnaris combats the cause. get omnaris for $11 at omnaris.com.
ten years ago, michael j. fox started the foundation that now has his name to find a cure for parkinson's. it's interesting, a biomarker is a signal that the disease gives off, whether a protein or something in the body. there are a few different purposes. perhaps it can give you an early clue that someone has a disease,
maybe doesn't have symptoms or is going to develop the disease. it gives you insight. >> it gives you a starting point. if you want to track the progression of disease in a patient, you have to wait until he's symptomatic. if you have a biomarker, you can track it from the earlier stages. what is going to be the trigger here. >> you have talked a lot about this. >> stem cells still come up. why don't you talk about stem cells as much anymore? >> there's an urgency at the moment with the vote coming up in 2006. i mean the simple fact is patients have the right to insist federal funders and industry pursue anything that's likely to provide an answer or find a cure. you know, secures don't fall out of the sky. we have to go up and get them. we assume. i think i always assumed there
was a department of cures. there was a minister of cures. secretary of cures, but there isn't. it's us. >> such an important point. the secretary of cures he's talking about there, so many unknowns to the disease. how close are we to finding the answers. joining me now are two leaders in the disease. dr. ber nand rivena. he's a researcher with the michael j. fox foundation. thank you for joining us. >> thank you. >> he's doing well. he had a lot to say, obviously. he pointed out, there are so many unknowns. we don't know what causes this. the treatment hasn't changed a lot. at one point he says just diagnosing him, he wasn't sure he has parkinson's disease. is that why it's difficult to make progress.
>> there are many things that contribute to parkinson's disease. people with early on set parkinson's disease, it's difficult to make a diagnosis. there are several other diseases that are suspected diseases you out first. >> the distinguishing features to parkinson's disease -- the one that is the most distinguishing is that the patients respond to the medications. in the early stages. and where many of the diseases are not responsive. so this ability to respond is usually the cut point that makes you feel certain that someone has parkinson's. >> and he says he clearly responds to it. he clearly has benefit from taking the dopamine, which is deficient in the brain. he's very interested in biomarkers. first of all, tell us a little bit about what biomarkers are. why is this so important as we move forward? >> well, biomarkers are a
characteristic or something that you can measure that tells you about the underlying disease process. so not the symptoms, but what's causing the symptoms. a good example is being able to measure blood sugar and diabetes. it helps you make the diagnosis and also helps figure out if people are responding to the treatment. and parkinson's disease, we really don't have biomarkers that tell us what the underlying disease is doing in the brain. and it's a little bit more challenging because the measures that we're interested in are in the brain. it's not necessarily quite as simple as getting a blood test. >> in my mind, the biomarker significance is a measure that you can target with a drug or therapy that increases the probability that you're going to respond to that therapy. >> five-year study, $40 million, several countries around the world. >> that's right. this is one of the first large-scale international efforts to develop biomarkers
that will tell us about the progress of parkinson's. and as walter was saying exactly the point, the goal here is to be able to use these biomarkers to help develop drugs that will slow the progression. >> stem cells was something that michael j. fox used to talk a lot about, he doesn't talk as much about it. why not? is there less promise? there was a lot of enthusiasm. >> i don't know there's less promise. certainly it's a controversial issue, but i think what's key in parkins parkinson's is we pursue multiple different avenues to treatments. stem cells may work, but there are also other ways we can go about addressing the progression. >> i think the key thing to know is that the genetics has really opened the door because it isolated a defect in the protein in a particular family that got parkinson's, and what we found after that was that everyone with parkinson's has this problem. and it occurs in the brain and in the nerves way before you get the symptoms.
so now, you know, we know kind of what we might be able to go after to get a treatment. >> a little forerunner, gives you a little prediction. i think we can all agree on this, he is the eternal optimist. in the book, "always looking up." he's going to explain why he also calls parkinson's disease a gift. stay with us. ♪
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michael j. fox calls himself an incurable optimist. and he called parkinson's a gift. a gift that keeps on taking as he put it. >> what keeps you so optimistic? >> it's like be in the moment. there's no more important moment than right now. and i think, you know, i say to my wife sometimes, if you -- if you get caught up in the worst-case scenario and it -- and it didn't happen, you've wasted your time. and if you are caught up in the worst-case scenario and it does happen, you've lived it twice. you know, there's no -- there's no -- it's okay to be prepared
and informed and to know what the future may bring, but it's especially important to celebrate right now. especially with golf, i'm a terrible golfer, i started golfing in my 40s with parkinson's, so if that isn't optimism, i don't know what is. so i just do what i want to do and i work with what i show up with that day. and but that's me. and again, i'm very lucky in a lot of ways. >> what's the legacy of the foundation going to be? >> hopefully we'll accomplish our mission in some way facilitate a solution to this puzzle.