+
More

5 faces of Parkinson's disease, brought to you by Michael J. Fox.

There's still no cure for Parkinson's disease; Michael J. Fox wants to change that.

In 1998, Michael J. Fox revealed that he had been living with Parkinson's disease for the previous seven years.

The announcement came as a huge shock to the public. At the time of the announcement, Fox was the star of his own ABC sitcom, "Spin City." He joined a select group of public figures with the disease, alongside legendary boxer Muhammad Ali and then-Attorney General Janet Reno.


Fox strikes a post with Ali before giving Congressional testimony in 2002. Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images.

Then in 2000, he co-founded the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson's Research.

Using his celebrity to shine a light on the struggle people living with Parkinson's face, Fox's foundation hoped to get beyond building awareness and actually focus on helping others with the disease.

Fox speaks at a benefit to raise funds for stem cell research in 2004. Photo by Vince Bucci/Getty Images.

Since 2000, the organization has raised more than $450 million dedicated to Parkinson's research. Go, Michael!

In a new video, Fox is helping to demystify the disease in another way, too: by using his platform to tell others' stories.

Last year, the foundation released a video titled "Faces of Parkinson's." The video has five individuals with the disease explaining what their Parkinson's looks like. As Fox says at the beginning of the video, "I was 29 when I learned I had Parkinson's disease. I soon learned that each patient has their own version of Parkinson's, their own story to tell."

Here are five of those stories.

1. Susan Kauffman was diagnosed in 2006, two weeks after her 39th birthday.

"[Parkinson's] just came across me like, 'Where did this come from? Why me?'" she says. After a few years, Kauffman came to terms with the disease, resolving to do whatever she could to help find a cure.

All photos from The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson's Research.

2. New York-based artist Tom Shannon's first symptoms involved his sense of smell.

Soon after, he began to notice his arm cramping up. He describes Parkinson's effects on his work, and especially on his drawing, as "discouraging."

3. Tom Picone first noticed symptoms after his 50th birthday.

"I was writing thank you notes to people for my 50th birthday party," he says in the video. "I would start the note, and the letters would get smaller and smaller. Sooner or later, the hand wouldn't move."

4. Joyce Chu noticed something was up while she was running.

"I just had problems running. My right leg just didn't keep up with the left leg," she says, admitting that she didn't think much of it at the time. It wasn't until her husband asked what was wrong that Chu became more aware of the changes and early symptoms.

She resolved to run one final marathon before hanging up her sneakers.

5. Brian Grant played professional basketball for more than a decade before he was diagnosed with Parkinson's.

In 2005, Grant was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease. Before the 2006 season, he announced his retirement from basketball. The eighth overall pick in the 1994 NBA draft, Grant was one of the world's elite athletes.

"My greatest fear is losing control of me," he said in a 2009 interview with ESPN, "Having someone have to take care of me. But that was at the beginning."

For extended versions of these stories, check out the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson's Research video below.

Pop Culture

Artist uses AI to create ultra realistic portraits of celebrities who left us too soon

What would certain icons look like if nothing had happened to them?

Mercury would be 76 today.

Some icons have truly left this world too early. It’s a tragedy when anyone doesn’t make it to see old age, but when it happens to a well-known public figure, it’s like a bit of their art and legacy dies with them. What might Freddie Mercury have created if he were granted the gift of long life? Bruce Lee? Princess Diana?

Their futures might be mere musings of our imagination, but thanks to a lot of creativity (and a little tech) we can now get a glimpse into what these celebrities might have looked like when they were older.

Alper Yesiltas, an Istanbul-based lawyer and photographer, created a photography series titled “As If Nothing Happened,” which features eerily realistic portraits of long gone celebrities in their golden years. To make the images as real looking as possible, Yesiltas incorporated various photo editing programs such as Adobe Lightroom and VSCO, as well as the AI photo-enhancing software Remini.

“The hardest part of the creative process for me is making the image feel ‘real’ to me,” Yesiltas wrote about his passion project. “The moment I like the most is when I think the image in front of me looks as if it was taken by a photographer.”

Yesiltas’ meticulousness paid off, because the results are uncanny.

Along with each photo, Yesiltas writes a bittersweet message “wishing” how things might have gone differently … as if nothing happened.
Keep ReadingShow less
All images provided by Adewole Adamson

It begins with more inclusive conversations at a patient level

True

Adewole Adamson, MD, of the University of Texas, Austin, aims to create more equity in health care by gathering data from more diverse populations by using artificial intelligence (AI), a type of machine learning. Dr. Adamson’s work is funded by the American Cancer Society (ACS), an organization committed to advancing health equity through research priorities, programs and services for groups who have been marginalized.

Melanoma became a particular focus for Dr. Adamson after meeting Avery Smith, who lost his wife—a Black woman—to the deadly disease.

melanoma,  melanoma for dark skin Avery Smith (left) and Adamson (sidenote)

This personal encounter, coupled with multiple conversations with Black dermatology patients, drove Dr. Adamson to a concerning discovery: as advanced as AI is at detecting possible skin cancers, it is heavily biased.

To understand this bias, it helps to first know how AI works in the early detection of skin cancer, which Dr. Adamson explains in his paper for the New England Journal of Medicine (paywall). The process uses computers that rely on sets of accumulated data to learn what healthy or unhealthy skin looks like and then create an algorithm to predict diagnoses based on those data sets.

This process, known as supervised learning, could lead to huge benefits in preventive care.

After all, early detection is key to better outcomes. The problem is that the data sets don’t include enough information about darker skin tones. As Adamson put it, “everything is viewed through a ‘white lens.’”

“If you don’t teach the algorithm with a diverse set of images, then that algorithm won’t work out in the public that is diverse,” writes Adamson in a study he co-wrote with Smith (according to a story in The Atlantic). “So there’s risk, then, for people with skin of color to fall through the cracks.”

Tragically, Smith’s wife was diagnosed with melanoma too late and paid the ultimate price for it. And she was not an anomaly—though the disease is more common for White patients, Black cancer patients are far more likely to be diagnosed at later stages, causing a notable disparity in survival rates between non-Hispanics whites (90%) and non-Hispanic blacks (66%).

As a computer scientist, Smith suspected this racial bias and reached out to Adamson, hoping a Black dermatologist would have more diverse data sets. Though Adamson didn’t have what Smith was initially looking for, this realization ignited a personal mission to investigate and reduce disparities.

Now, Adamson uses the knowledge gained through his years of research to help advance the fight for health equity. To him, that means not only gaining a wider array of data sets, but also having more conversations with patients to understand how socioeconomic status impacts the level and efficiency of care.

“At the end of the day, what matters most is how we help patients at the patient level,” Adamson told Upworthy. “And how can you do that without knowing exactly what barriers they face?”

american cancer society, skin cacner treatment"What matters most is how we help patients at the patient level."https://www.kellydavidsonstudio.com/

The American Cancer Society believes everyone deserves a fair and just opportunity to prevent, find, treat, and survive cancer—regardless of how much money they make, the color of their skin, their sexual orientation, gender identity, their disability status, or where they live. Inclusive tools and resources on the Health Equity section of their website can be found here. For more information about skin cancer, visit cancer.org/skincancer.

via Dion Merrick / Facebook

This article originally appeared on 02.09.21


At 1:30 am on Monday morning an AMBER Alert went out in southern Louisiana about a missing 10-year-old girl from New Iberia. It was believed she had been kidnapped and driven away in a 2012 silver Nissan Altima.

A few hours later at 7 am, Dion Merrick and Brandon Antoine, sanitation workers for Pelican Waste, were on their daily route when they noticed a vehicle that fit the description in the alert.

Keep ReadingShow less
Joy

Nurse turns inappropriate things men say in the delivery room into ‘inspirational’ art

"Can you move to the birthing ball so I can sleep in the bed?"

Holly the delivery nurse.

After working six years as a labor and delivery nurse Holly, 30, has heard a lot of inappropriate remarks made by men while their partners are in labor. “Sometimes the moms think it’s funny—and if they think it’s funny, then I’ll laugh with them,” Holly told TODAY Parents. “But if they get upset, I’ll try to be the buffer. I’ll change the subject.”

Some of the comments are so wrong that she did something creative with them by turning them into “inspirational” quotes and setting them to “A Thousand Miles” by Vanessa Carlton on TikTok.

“Some partners are hard to live up to!” she jokingly captioned the video.

Keep ReadingShow less