Dr. Harry Tamm, MD, affiliated with Honor Health, was luncheon speaker at a recent Rotary Club of Scottsdale meeting held at Scottsdale's McCormick Ranch Golf Club's Pavilion. When introducing Tamm, Rotarian Gary Baker said that Tamm is a neurologist in Phoenix and is affiliated with other hospitals in the area, including Banner University Medical Center Phoenix and St. Joseph's Hospital and Medical Center.
Tam received his medical degree from University of Missouri-Columbia School of Medicine. His internship was at the St. Louis Jewish Hospital and his residency work was at Barnes Hospital/Washington University Medical School. He received his board certification from the American Board of Psychiatry & Neurology in 1977. Tamm is well published and has focused much of his studying on Parkinson's disease.  
Tamm stated that Parkinson's disease is a progressive nervous system disorder that affects movement. Symptoms start gradually, sometimes starting with a barely noticeable tremor in just one hand. Tremors are common, but the disorder also commonly causes stiffness or slowing of movement. Per Tamm, Parkinson's disease can't be cured, and medications might significantly improve one's symptoms. Tamm said that in Parkinson's disease, certain nerve cells (neurons) in the brain gradually break down or die. Many of the symptoms are due to a loss of neurons that produce a chemical messenger in your brain called dopamine. When dopamine levels decrease, it causes abnormal brain activity, leading to symptoms of Parkinson's disease. 
Parkinson's disease signs and symptoms may include: tremor, slowed movement, rigid muscles, impaired posture and balance, loss of automatic movements (blinking, smiling, swinging arms ...) and speech changes. Several risk factors play a role in cause of Parkinson's disease: genes, environmental triggers (i.e. exposure to toxins such as herbicides and pesticides), age and heredity. Parkinson disease is often accompanied by additional problems that may be treatable: thinking difficulties, depression, emotional changes, swallowing problems, chewing and eating problems, sleep problems and constipation.
Tamm noted that research has shown that people who drink caffeine—which is found in coffee, tea and cola—get Parkinson's disease less often than those who don't drink it. However, it is still not known whether caffeine actually protects against getting Parkinson's, or is related in some other way. Currently, there is not enough evidence to suggest drinking caffeinated beverages to protect against Parkinson's. Tamm added that research shows that Parkinson's patients have a higher risk of developing melanoma, and melanoma patients have a higher risk of developing Parkinson's disease. In closing, Tamm noted that regular aerobic exercise may reduce the risk of Parkinson's disease—it is important to keep active.  
During the meeting, Rotarian, Leonard Kawecki was awarded his Blue ID Badge in honor of his completing all of the Club's new member initiation activities.  
For more information about the Rotary Club of Scottsdale, visit scottsdalerotary.org.  Visitors to Club meetings are always welcome. Call 480-945-6158.
Dr. Honora Norton