I've been away at a Parkinson's disease conference for a few days. I know (or at least knew) next to nothing about Parkinson's but did some image analysis on one of the featured papers. It was a really interesting meeting even if it was impenetrable to me in places. Parkinson's has been around for a long time - it was characterised by James Parkinson in 1817 - and affects a lot of people, but there is no cure as such, even now, and a limited range of treatments. Listening to the various talks at the meeting it seemed to me that a lot is known in detail about a lot of different aspects of the disease but the full picture is still not understood. Imagine trying to figure out the plot of Lord of the Rings by randomly sampling a few pages at a time from the three books. After you've read 50 sets of pages or so (and if you can put them in the right order) you will have some idea what is going on in certain parts of the story but you will still have a very restricted outlook on the whole; it will take many more pages to reflect the detail and give a true understanding.
Now CLIPPERS is a relatively new condition (or at least newly identified) but it seems possible (I am not a doctor) that CLIPPERS will fit somewhere into the existing framework of understanding of auto-immune diseases. We already have treatments for CLIPPERS which can alleviate and suppress the symptoms at least some of the time and/or if used early enough. However, as far as I know, no-one has yet figured out the mechanisms, causes or triggers of the disease that will be necessary for a cure. I think the good news is that we are starting from a fairly advanced level of understanding about related conditions so maybe CLIPPERS will be a missing part of a bigger puzzle ...
Read other articles in this series at Living With CLIPPERS.
Living With CLIPPERS by Bill Crum is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.