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Thursday 18 January 2018

Parkinson's sufferer Healy reveals dementia fears

Shay Healy talks about living with Parkinson's disease on TV3 tonight
Shay Healy talks about living with Parkinson's disease on TV3 tonight
Louise Hogan

Louise Hogan

MUSICIAN Shay Healy has laid bare his fears of developing dementia due to the onset of Parkinson's disease.

The well-known broadcaster and journalist said the "unpredictability" of the symptoms were an "extreme frustration" for him.

Mr Healy (70) has been taking medication for the past 10 years for the degenerative disease.

The Eurovision-winning composer also told how he has tried cannabis in the past in an effort to alleviate tremors and pain.

"I woke up this morning with a cramp. I was woken by a cramp so extreme in my right leg that I levitated it for about a minute-and-a-half in agony, so anything that would take that away ... mind you, I'd find it hard to roll a joint first thing in the morning," he joked to TV3's 'Midweek' programme, which airs tonight.

It comes just days after comedian Billy Connolly revealed he was suffering the initial symptoms of the disease, which can cause slowness of movement, rigidity and tremors.

"I haven't degenerated as fast as other people, but I know that will change. It is degenerative. It will keep going," said the musician, who added that he now suffers hallucinations.

Mr Healy believes his "odds" are shortening on whether the medics will deliver a miracle cure in time for him.

"I'm frustrated by it because I really should be performing more. My one concern is that I might eventually arrive at the doorstep of dementia, which wouldn't be nice," he said.

For the composer the music studio still comforts him but he has to take extreme care with cables as his feet now drag.

The onset of the degenerative disease, which has no known cure, is caused by a loss of brain cells that produce a chemical messenger called dopamine.

Irish Independent

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