Every day at the Parkinson Research Foundation’s Parkinson Place is special, but the second Wednesday of every month brings a once a month unique opportunity. Over lunch, people with Parkinson’s and their friends and caregivers can quiz the medical director about specific issues of Parkinson’s disease.
Juan Sanchez-Ramos, Ph.D., M.D. is happy to give in-depth explanations to concerns and questions of a general nature about Parkinson’s disease. Do you want to know how Sinemet got its name? Ask the doctor. Just what is “orthostatic hypotension” and why is it important in Parkinson’s? Ask the doctor!
Dr. Sanchez-Ramos has been a practicing neurologist specializing in movement disorders for more years that he wants anyone to know. He is fellowship trained, which means he has had extra specialized training in Parkinson’s and other movement disorders. Before he became a movement disorder specialist, he earned his Ph.D. in molecular pharmacology. As the head of his own basic research laboratory, he pioneered the development of neurons for brain repair from stem cells he grew from bone marrow. This man has a very deep and knowledgeable understanding of Parkinson’s.
There is still another fascinating side to Dr. Sanchez-Ramos…a side he values equally with his science and medicine. Dr. Sanchez-Ramos is an artist, and he credits his artistic endeavors with making him a better neurologist.
In his youth, he was expected to follow in the footsteps of his father and his older brother, both of whom were doctors. By his junior year at the University of Chicago, he didn’t think medicine was for him….he wanted to be an artist. The usual parental admonitions about starving artists followed that announcement. After arguing convincingly of the sincerity of his desire, his father sent him to study art for a year in Europe. The year turned into three, with some rather interesting adventures, but ultimately, he returned to the University of Chicago to study the pharmacology of psychoactive substances.
While he continued in the world of science and medicine, he never completely relinquished his love of art and drawing. It has always been an important part of who he is. He has shown his artwork in several venues and had some one-man shows. When asked how his art has impacted on his science he said: ” It has to do to with seeing things in a different dimension. When you work really up close in the lab, you have to step back and see how the parts relate to the whole. A lot of the work requires visualization of things that are invisible. The images that I see are so beautiful, that inspires me to draw them out. The science influences the art, the art influences the science. They each influence each other. The art allows you to see things you can’t see, then you can understand, then you can explain and manipulate.”
So, think about it. When the next session of “Ask the doctor” rolls around, line up your questions and sit back and listen to the fascinating and thorough replies of this very special specialist. You will find his depth of knowledge amazing and that he is an inspiring and spirited teacher. Don’t miss this unique opportunity!