DG Chuck Anderson
DG Chuck Anderson visits
Steve Scherer and Friends, Investment Day
To be announced
Kathleen Andersen of Catholic Education Foundation
District Breakfast - LAX
Westin Hotel, 5400 W. Century Blvd.
Sweetheart Valentine Brunch, Lawry’s
PARKINSON’S, with DR. JEFF BRONSTEIN at WVRC on January 15th
PP ERIC LOBERG led the Pledge. JOHN WOODALL provided the Invocation.
“Father of life, we are grateful for each day we are given. We are grateful for the people that are gathered within this room today and the hope they represent in the world that we truly might someday provide justice and compassion for one another. So as we continue into this New Year, we pray that each of us might have the spark within us so that we might find those opportunities where we can each make a difference. May this time of fellowship build us up and may the bounty that is on this table nourish us so that we each can be the people who provide hope in this world.” JOHN, good thoughts as we start another new year. Thanks.
There were a number of visitors. SHARON was here with PP CHRIS, but she wanted to be sure we all knew she wasn’t just escaping the freeze in Missouri, but came for better reasons…PP STEVE SCHERER had several introductions of Special Guests. Joe Franklin, the attorney turned fireman was first and when I stood next to him after the meeting, he really is tall! Elise Foley was with us earlier, now has graduated from UCLA, and is working with Volvo. Marsha Hunt also has visited before, and is in TV Production. Scott Fitch was the Special Guest of PEGGY BLOOMFIELD, and he is with UBS. STEVE PETTISE brought Nick Bartesch, who is a senior at UCLA and will be doing graduate study in Sweden. He wants to join Rotaract.
The head Table had the usual suspects (which includes everybody, I suspect).
ALY SOHJI (right) was back, and can you believe her baby, London, is now FOUR MONTHS old? ANN SAMSON didn’t add to the confusion, and of course Dr Jeff Bronstein gets up there so infrequently that he saw no reason to make any remarks at that moment.
ELLIOTT TURNER came forward with his Inspirations, which I partially quote: He began by cautioning us to never take a sleeping pill and a laxative on the same night. And this thoughtful one there’s a very fine line between a hobby and mental illness. Never lick a steak knife. You will never find anybody who can give you a compelling reason why we observe Daylight Savings Time. There comes a time when you should expect people to no longer make a big deal about your birthday that age is eleven. This was concluded by the touching tale of Jacqueline and Mark, who were having marital troubles after twenty-five years. They went to a counselor, and the Mrs proceeded to outline every problem they had ever had during their marriage. When she finished, the counselor went over to her, stood her up and gave her a long, passionate kiss. He then addressed Mark, saying “This is what your wife needs, three times a week.” Mark thought for a moment, and then replied, “Well, I could drop her off here on Monday and Wednesday, but I play golf on Friday”. Editorial comment, it’s always better to end on a high note…
Time for a CORRECTION: Yes, I missed the date of the Sweetheart Valentine Brunch but only by a week! The correct date is a month from today Sunday, February 15th. It will still be at Lawry’s, as before, starting at 12:30, and we’ll have music, fellowship and great food. Invitations are coming and my apologies, please. I hope you’re not keeping count!
It must be noted that we did not miss having our usual historical lesson, which seems always to be focused on Ireland. In this case it was a reminder of a significant Son of the Old Sod, Edmund Burke. Born in Ireland (of course) in 1729, Burke graduated from Trinity College, Dublin, in 1748. He studied law at Middle Temple in London, but did not secure a call to the bar, and thus began a truly monumental literary career. In 1765, Burke was elected to the House of Commons, and within a short time, his great speaking ability had transformed him into one of Parliament’s most influential members.
Two quotes, among a great many, provide insight into his ability to express himself. “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing”. “All government, indeed every human benefit and enjoyment, every virtue, and every prudent act, is founded on compromise and barter”. And YOE cannot resist pointing out that these two pronouncements were among the guiding principles of Abraham Lincoln.
Burke was one of the leading advocates of compromise with the American colonies. His advice was not followed then, but after the British defeat at the Battle of Yorktown, he was one of the members who helped convince King George III to end the conflict. However, his view of the revolution in France was a much different story. His “Reflections on the Revolution in France” in 1790, attacking the revolution’s motives and principles, was opposed by Thomas Paine in his “Rights of Man”
LEO TSENG introduced the Parkinson’s PLLUS Program. It was started in 1996 by WALLY FISCHMANN and HENRY TSENG. Since then it has grown worldwide, and there is a video available which shows any organization how to get the Program up and running. This has been shown at all the International Conventions since it began and for me, speaking personally, it was the absolute highlight of our 100th Anniversary in 2005 in Chicago. In a word, this is a Program that WORKS! Exercise can and always does make a difference in the life of those with Parkinson’s. and we owe a real debt of gratitude to both WALLY and HENRY.
LEO announced that we have just received another $5,000 gift to PLLUS from Madelyn, WALLY’S widow. LEO then called on ANN SAMSON, who has been involved in PLLUS since it began. Historically, the Westside YMCA was built in 1971, and has been a model for the Y since that time. However, it has one major flaw no elevator! This is now a problem for those who wish to participate on the second floor. Looking ahead, there are now plans to build a new structure on the corner of the University High School property. The video continued with more history, plus some demonstrations of the exercises that are given. A major advantage of the partnership in this program between the YMCA and Rotary is that Rotary does provide much wider exposure than would occur if just one Y branch was telling the story. These exercises work on upper body strength, flexibility and balance and there are stationary bikes for those with a balance problem. The class averages about twenty people, Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. Since some of those with Parkinson’s have accompanying caregivers, they, too, can participate in the program. Twice a month the Y hosts a support group, which features speakers and sharing of information successes, problems, and this becomes an excellent time for bonding.
There are four local Y’s running classes Hollywood, San Pedro, Valley/San Fernando, and Westside. To encourage expansion of the Program, HENRY TSENG has provided a grant of $20,000 this fund can be drawn on by Y’s which are interested in starting up, with $2,500 to begin, and another $2,500 six months later. As an example of the global outreach, Westside has just received an application from a Y in India which is also supported by their local Rotary Club. And over the last thirteen years, every Past President of WVRC has been on the PLUUS Board which ANN credits with helping very much to spread the word about PLLUS. Her presentation ended with hearty applause, as she thanked both WVRC and those who are Board Members.
Our next Speaker was Dr. Jeff Bronstein, who is on the staff of both UCLA and the Veteran’s Administration. He, too, has been with the PLLUS Program since it began and ANN just learned that Jeff’s Dad is also a Rotarian! Jeff began by reminding us that exercise is helpful in ALL health situations, but is particularly beneficial for those with Parkinson’s. It not only improves quality of life, but increases longevity. When he and WALLY FISCHMANN began talking about the disease, they realized they needed a lot more information. After a lot of research, the need for a sustainable program that could continue long term was their goal.
Please remember that because you have a tremor or balance problems doesn’t automatically put you in the Parkinson’s group there are lots of similar diseases. Men are about twice as likely as women to be affected, and there are probably about one million people in the U.S. who have Parkinson’s, plus another five million worldwide. 20% get it before the age of 50 Michael J. Fox is a well-known example. There are deep cells within the brain that help to control movement, releasing Dopamine in the process.
An obvious question is what causes Parkinson’s, and there is lots of research available. Only 5% of patients inherit it, and this works out to just 3% for their offspring so it really should not be considered a likely pass-on. Thus it is not a genetic disease, but they have found 10 or 11 genes that occur regularly. The reason for this success is that NIH (National Health Institute) has funded genetic research. So study of the 5% of inherited patients will have related success with the other 95%. This is the field of Epidermitology, and UCLA has a strong department. 7 or 8 years ago they began a study of a large number of people in the central valley, since they were in an area with considerable wind-driven atmosphere. This in turns comes from aerial crop spraying.
Thus, if they have lived there over the last forty years, they have been exposed to certain chemicals and from this, your risk of getting Parkinson’s can be determined. When you combine these results with genetic analysis, you find 8 or 9 genes in which a small variation is present. And worldwide, once all these factors are combined, it is expected that specific cures can be established.
Here are some of the emerging therapies. A drug called Azalec, from Israel, is the first drug that seems to modify the causes of Parkinson’s. It appears that the disease progresses perhaps 30% slower than it would without treatment. Thus, you can buy yourself another several years of life, since treatment usually starts in your later years. Deep brain stimulation is a surgical technique that is being tried. For those who are eligible, this, too, can have excellent results. Gene therapy is the present frontier.
Genes affect protein, and that affects everything in our body. Genes can be introduced by means of a carrier, or vector, into the brain, and Dr. Bronstein showed slides of before and after, that demonstrate real progress in controlling the disease. The exciting aspect of this work is that it comes from genes, which eliminate the vastly more expensive and complicated problem of starting from scratch. They now HAVE demonstrations of success, using gene therapy! And genes can have the same positive effect in almost all aspects of health science - it is the most exciting part of what Dr. Bronstein does.
A slide was shown which listed some of those clinicians who are involved in Parkinson’s Research. Dr. Bronstein mentioned a particular person, and a Memorial is planned for him in early February, but I didn’t get his name. You can of course call Dr. B for details.
Dr. Bronstein made a final summation, emphasizing the major positive effects that exercise under the PLLUS Program can achieve. It’s certainly an inspiring story, and we, as Rotarians, can be proud of our small part is spreading the good word. Thank You, Dr Jeff Bronstein.
Rachel, who has been on the YMCA staff for 18 years, came forward to give us some examples of the exercises they regularly perform. They are varied and tough, but most worthwhile. Again, our thanks to ANN and her staff for their constant support.
Closing Words of Wisdom...
There are two rules for success: 1. Don’t tell all you know, or
There is no “I” in “Team”, but there are four in”Platitude-Quoting Idiot”.