News & Politics

Alan Alda Reveals Parkinson's Diagnosis

Actor Alan Alda listens during an interview at Stony Brook University, on New York's Long Island. (AP Photo/Richard Drew)

Beloved Emmy Award-winning actor Alan Alda has just revealed that he is battling Parkinson’s disease. The former M*A*S*H star, who is also known for his extensive film career, learned of his diagnosis in 2015.

Alda hadn’t been showing any symptoms — except during sleep. He said in a recent interview, “I was having a dream that someone was attacking me and I threw a sack of potatoes at him but what I was really doing was throwing a pillow at my wife.” According to the Daily Mail, “thrashing about during sleep, or acting out dreams, can be a tell-tale sign of the condition.” After a few scans, the actor got the diagnosis, which confirmed his suspicions.

The illness currently has no cure, and “causes muscle stiffness, slowness of movement, tremors, sleep disturbance, chronic fatigue, an impaired quality of life and can lead to severe disability.” It is a progressive neurological condition that “destroys cells in the part of the brain that controls movement.”

Fortunately for 82-year-old Alda, the only symptom he has noticed during waking hours is a slight thumb twitch. He exercises regularly — doing boxing, tennis, and juggling — as well as takes a mild medication to keep the disease at bay.

The actor chose to come forward with the news to avoid any inaccurate future press coverage. He feared that someone would write a “sad” story about his condition, when he is, in fact, currently living life to its fullest. He said, “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.”

Alda is indeed living a full life.

Watch CBS News’s interview with Aldo below: