This post is only tangentially connected to Parkinson’s Disease.
Or should I say only tangentially connected to Parkinson’s.
A couple of days ago, in a humorous thread on a forum for PWP, there was a jokey anecdote in which a PWP told a friend that they had Parkinson’s Disease, whereupon the friend became concerned that they might ‘catch’ Parkinson’s from them. I chuckled at the friend’s lack of knowledge of the meaning of the word ‘disease’ as they clearly thought that a disease was only something you could catch. ‘As if anyone thinks that’ I thought to my self.
Then I read the next post.
(Readers of this blog who are also viewers of the excellent ‘Dave Gorman’s Modern Life is Goodish’ might want to imagine him saying ‘… into what I like to call a Found Poem’, a string quartet and a PowerPoint presentation at this point.)

It is NOT a disease!
You can catch a disease, you don’t  catch Parkinsons!!!
Even this charity that was once known as the, Parkinsons Disease Society is now know as Parkinsons UK. 

Oh dear. Was I wrong? I checked the definitions.
Disease (noun)
A disorder of structure or function in a human, animal, or plant, especially one that produces specific symptoms or that affects a specific location and is not simply a direct result of physical injury.
Communicable 1.1 (of a disease) able to be transmitted from one sufferer to another; contagious or infectious.

Parkinson’s is a ‘disorder of function in a human’… ‘one that produces specific symptoms’, so it is a disease. It is neither communicable, contagious nor infectious so it isn’t a disease you can catch.

You can use as many exclamation marks as you like and put the word ‘not’ in capital letters or even bold type, PD is still going to be a disease. I guess that charity changed name to get something snappier.

This got me thinking about people using their own meanings of words. This is, I have discovered, called the Humpty-Dumpty Principle of Definitions and I shall return to it in my next post.


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