Wednesday, December 21, 2011

"Days of our Lives" explores a tricky neuromuscular disease and may surprise viewers

Yesterday (Dec. 20, 2011), the NBC-Corday soap opera “Days of our Lives” presented a conversation between the surgeon Daniel Jonas  (a hunky Shawn Christian) tells his “own doctor” Lexie Carver (Renee Jones) that he is afraid he could have myasthenia gravis.  The episode shows his hand shaking. Lexie says he has the genetic markers but not the actual autoimmune disease. Daniel says he will have to give up surgery because of the mild tremors.  I didn’t realize that such mild symptoms could have such consequences. 
 
I had thought such tremors were more likely to be associated with Parkinsonism, related to the cells in the brain that manage dopamine.  I have had these very mild tremors for years, and believe that it could be non-progressive or only very slow Parkinson’s.  I had not thought about myasthenia gravis. 
 
Another disease that these two could become confused with is Lou Gehrig’s disease, or amotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), which involves profound weakness of involuntary muscles, because of degeneration of nerve cells that communicate with them.   But this is different from myasthenia gravis, in which autoimmune disease prevents voluntary muscles from receiving messages from nerve cells.  
 
It’s odd that a soap opera episode could leave a question for a next (Medicare) doctor’s visit.

On Thursday, DOOL started with a line "Do you know how many federal regulations there are governing Internet access?"  Ask Electronic Frontier Foundation.  Maybe DOOL can debate SOPA.  (The point comes up as they try to show than "John" didn't have Internet access the day he supposedly embezzled funds. The show also talks about subpoenas of ISP user logs -- a good point to bring up.  It also gets into foreign governments cutting off access.)

Then, in a separate scene, a character says, "don't spend your life waiting for the perfect woman" before settling down and getting married.  Be realistic and settle for what is reasonable.  Part of the "self-policing social code."  After all, couples are supposed to grow old (and imperfect) together. 

Isn't that part of Vatican doctrine?

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