Alan Alda is the same age as me, so I took notice when he announced he was diagnosed with Parkinson’s. Also, he just seems like a nice guy that should not experience bad things.
Turns out, I don’t have much to worry about, based on his experience. He was diagnosed with it three and a half years ago with the only symptom of acting out his dreams. He now has no symptoms, and I rarely dream (or don’t remember them). I am more worried about my wife acting out her dreams.
There are five stages of Parkinson’s ranging from mild twitching and other symptoms to really bad. At stage four, the patient is unable to live alone. Stage five is even worse. The symptoms vary for each individual, as can the speed of its progression, but medication that helps is available.
Alda is self-controlling his Parkinson’s with exercise and no medication (except for an unnamed “mild pill”), but not knowing how it will progress must be scary.
Alda’s official birth name is Alphonso Joseph D’Abruzzo. His father, Robert Alda (D’Abruzzo), was a noted stage actor and made two guest appearances on M*A*S*H. His half-brother, Antony, was also an actor, but died young. He was a guest once on M*A*S*H. (They all look like they go to the same dentist.) The family had long used the name “Alda” in place of “D’Abruzzo.”