Pacquiao showing early signs of Parkinson's disease?

By Dharel Placido,

Posted at Jan 03 2013 03:04 PM | Updated as of Jan 05 2013 03:49 AM

MANILA, Philippines – A neurologist on Thursday said he has been observing early signs of Parkinson's disease from Filipino boxing icon Manny "Pacman" Pacquiao.

Dr. Rustico Jimenez, President of Private Hospitals Association of the Philippines, told radio dzMM that among the early signs of Parkinson's being exhibited by Pacquiao include stuttering and hand twitching.

Jimenez urged the Filipino champion to retire from boxing in order to avoid what happened to Muhammad Ali (Cassius Clay) and award-winning trainer Freddie Roach who were both afflicted with the progressive disorder of the nervous system.

"Kung ako naman ang tatanungin, siguro dapat mag-retiro ang ating pambansang hero na si Manny," he said.

"Lalo pong nadadagdagan ang trauma, lalo pong magkakaroon siya ng problema. Pwedeng later on Alzheimer's disease naman."

In a separate phone interview, Jimenez clarified that he could be wrong with his observations, but nevertheless told Pacquiao to be cautious.

He said while he has not met Pacquiao to personally check on his condition, his hand twitches during television interviews should be a cause for concern.

"Yung movement, although mabilis ang reflexes, napapansin ko lang - another view or personal view lang naman ang sa akin - parang may early signs," he said.

"May mga movements napapansin mo sa kamay. Sa kamay usually, sa ulo hindi natin makikita agad, nagtu-twitch ng konti. Although I haven't seen very close, parang nakikita ko lang mayroong ganoon."

Chronic trauma

This is not the first time that a medical expert raised concerns over Pacquiao's health.

Dr. Raquel Fortun, a renowned forensics expert in the country, earlier said she is not convinced with the CT scan results clearing Manny Pacquiao following his knockout loss to Mexican foe Juan Manuel Marquez.

She said severe head trauma could lead to Alzheimer’s disease or a form of dementia that worsens over time.

She said several studies have been done on the effect of chronic trauma or repeated hits to the head among athletes, particularly boxers and football players.

Fortun said the knockout punch that hit Pacquiao was actually 2 hits: when Marquez's fist connected with Pacquiao's face and when the boxing champ fell face down on the canvass.

"Delikado yun. Pag naalog yan yung utak mo kasi hindi fixed na fixed yan sa bungo so pag naaalog ang utak, may napu-putol putol na connections. May mga small hemorrhages ka," she said.

She said a severe blow to the head could damage the dura mater, which is a membrane that surrounds the brain. Once damaged, it could lead to a subdural hematoma.

The forensic expert expressed alarm over reports that Pacquiao allegedly had a slight seizure after falling unconscious from Marquez's hammer blow to the head. – with David Dizon,