What You Need To Know: Alan Alda

’M*A*S*H’ actor, Alan Alda, reveals Parkinson’s disease diagnosis

Alan Alda has announced he has Parkinson’s disease.

The “M*A*S*H” actor made the announcement on “CBS This Morning” on Tuesday.

In the announcement, Alda said he received the diagnosis three and a half years ago.

“I’ve had a full life since then,” Alda said during the interview. “I’ve acted. I’ve given talks. I help at the Alda Center for Communicating Science at Stony Brook. I’ve started this new podcast. And I noticed that -- I had been on television a lot in the last couple of weeks talking about the new podcast - and I could see my thumb twitch in some shots and I thought, it’s probably only a matter of time before somebody does a story about this from a sad point of view, but that’s not where I am.”

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Alda, 82, has had a long career on the small and big screen, but most notably for his role as combat doctor Hawkeye Pierce in “M*A*S*H,” a role that he had won Emmy awards, ABC News reported.

He also appeared in television series like “The West Wing,” “ER,” “The Blacklist” and “The Good Fight.” He also starred in films like “The Aviator.”

The Parkinson’s Foundation describes the condition as “a neurodegenerative disorder that affects predominately dopamine-producing (”dopaminergic”) neurons in a specific area of the brain called substantia nigra.”

Symptoms can appear slowly over years, and each patient’s condition progresses differently. 

Many patients may see tremors, mainly at rest in the hands, Bradykinesia, rigid limbs and gait and balance problems. 

The cause of Parkinson’s is unknown, and there is no cure. There are treatments including medication and surgery. The disease itself is not fatal, but the complications from it are dangerous. 

For more on Parkinson’s disease, click here.

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