Pope Cures Parkinson's?

30 March 2007

Twenty-six days after his death, Pope John Paul II was put on the fast-track for sainthood. Although there is usually a five-year waiting period before you can even be considered as a candidate for sainthood, the current pope waived the waiting period, just as John Paul II had done for Mother Theresa. Today, it looks like John Paul II might be cashing in on that favor and joining the ranks of the saints in the near future.

One of the requirements of sainthood is that you grant people wishes after you die, and bend the laws of nature to do things that are otherwise impossible (at least to the satisfaction of a church committee). To fulfill this requirement, a French nun recently came forward claiming that the recently deceased John Paul II cured her Parkinson's disease after she prayed to him. Parkinson's is incurable through modern medicine, so this sounds like big news.

However, the San Diego Tribune reports:

"As many as 200,000 of the estimated 1 million people in North America who learn they have Parkinson's disease, a progressive disorder marked by tremors and slow movement, may be misdiagnosed because the condition requires special expertise to recognize and treat."
If 1/5 of the people diagnosed with Parkinson's never had it in the first place, then this looks like a far more likely explanation. I suppose that we'll be hearing more about this in the future, though.

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