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I could feel Parkinson’s disease creeping up on me, so when I finally summoned up the courage to have a colleague assess me and make the diagnosis, it was of no surprise; in fact, it was almost a relief.
In my mid-30s, I had taken up long-distance running, mainly to shed the weight I’d stacked on during training and fellowship years. About 10 years later, I developed a gait disturbance, manifesting as an exercise-induced dystonia in my leg. Initially, it appeared only after running a significant distance, but gradually it became more problematic, eventually leading me to stop participating in competitive events. My leg would spasm, twist and generally tighten up. I knew it was dystonia but told others it was just cramp or a ‘hip problem’; that was easier than explaining what this could become.1 I was otherwise fine and made a concerted effort to keep fit and to continue exercise as best I could. I also abandoned plans to reduce my caffeine intake given the possibility of this being neuroprotective in Parkinson’s disease. Sadly, my sense of olfaction became impaired, …
Funding The author has not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.
Competing interests None declared.
Patient consent for publication Not required.
Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed by Andrew Lees, London, UK.