That’s right. I’ll say it. No one else is saying it so here I go. The Ride with Larry marijuana treatment video is a hoax. It’s a scam. I don’t buy the story. It leaves a bad taste in my mouth. Here’s why.
Parkinson’s disease is diagnosed clinically. Not with blood tests, not with brain scans, not with a spinal tap; but from a medical history and a physical exam. So that means we don’t need much other than the story of this guy, names Larry Smith, and study his movements very carefully like during a physical examination.
First let’s look at the story. This guy’s wife does most of his talking and he is the subject of his documentary flick, Ride with Larry, about bicycling across South Dakota with Parkinson’s disease in 2011. The story is that he had been diagnosed for twenty some odd years prior to that point. Well, gee, Parkinson’s disease has a prognosis of about 7-14 years so that doesn’t make sense. He must be really bad then. And indeed he is. So let’s take a look at his physical findings.
So let us see some examples of true Parkinson’s disease, shall we? To set a baseline for Parkinson’s symptoms and how patients present.
Here is one example:
What do you see? In this video, the focus is on spoon holding so the most obvious finding is the characteristic “resting tremor” that is most present at rest but diminishes during actions. This is different from an essential tremor, like that from old age, which is present at rest equally as during movements. It is often more on one side then the other, like can be seen in this example of Parkinson’s patients treated with deep brain stimulation (DBS):
Do you see how these patients seem very similar to one another? Now let’s look at their gait. It is classic for the disease.
Parkinsonian Gait: Slow rise, forward leaning, shuffling feet, resting tremor of fingertips at ones side. Slow moving (bradykinesia). Another great example is demonstrated by a professor here.
Now let’s look at our friend Larry!!!
A startling difference! Wouldn’t you say? What is that? It’s certainly not like the Parkinson’s patients above. Notice right away the speed of the movements. His left arm opens the door like a striking snake. And the resting tremor? What resting tremor!? I don’t see one. Hmmm. Instead in its place is what appears to be a spastic tone not unlike that of brain injured patients. Ones with real injury to their motor (movement) nerves in their brains and spines. Parkinson’s also has a problem with nerves of movement, but in a very peculiar and specific location of the brain that is called the substantia nigra, which allows smoothness to deliberate movements for performing actions. Without it, the default setting is kinetic noise manifesting as tremor and delay in purposeful movements (like Larry opening the door). The onset of the action is slow not rapid like that. And most importantly, there is no spasticity like in Larry caused by Parkinson’s disease.
Yes, I know that they say the spasticity is a result of his medication side effects. They are referring to drug-induced dyskinesia. Well, that might be true, but it wouldn’t mask the resting tremor and remaining physical features of a Parkinson’s patient. Furthermore, it is reproducible through acting. Anyone can act spastic this way, but no one can reproduce true Parkinson’s disease because their autonomic nervous system keeps the tremor at bay and a conscious impersonation would require conscious muscle twitching, which can not reproduce the fine movements caused by Parkinson’s disease.
Here’s another question: If this was a drug-induced dyskinesia, it would be uncontrollable and continuous, like in many of his videos. Then why does it seemingly dissappear during this doctor’s visit so suddenly. Perhaps he forgot to keep up the dyskinesia act? It wasn’t marijuana because he admits at the visit that he never tried it. Here’s the video, and the disappearance of symptoms is seen between the times of 49-58 seconds. Check it out for yourself. Parkinson’s can’t just disappear like that! Psychogenic or fictitions dyskinesia can!! If the link doesn’t work for the video, its address is https://www.facebook.com/ridewithlarry/videos/1271188532948808/ .
Stay tuned to hear more about my clinical experiences with Parkinson’s disease and why they are the strongest reason for my disbelief of Larry Smith and his response to medical cannabis for Parkinson’s disease.
So what do you think? Hoax or no hoax? Comment below to share your thoughts on this!