Parkinson Foundation Debunks Limbaugh’s False Smears of Michael J. Fox

Rush Limbaugh has repeatedly attacked actor Michael J. Fox for appearing in television campaign ads promoting stem cell research. Fox, who suffers from Parkinson’s disease, appears “visibly racked by tremors” in the ads.

“He is exaggerating the effects of the disease,” Limbaugh told listeners yesterday. “He’s moving all around and shaking and it’s purely an act. … This is really shameless of Michael J. Fox. Either he didn’t take his medication or he’s acting.”

According to the National Parkinson Foundation, Limbaugh has no idea what he’s talking about. The Washington Post reports:

[I]n an interview in Ladies Home Journal’s September edition, Fox said he was taking a medication that causes jerking, fidgeting and other abnormal involuntary movements, known as dyskinesia. Fox said he was taking another medication to lessen those side affects.

An official of the National Parkinson Foundation said movements like those exhibited by Fox are the result of taking medication to treat the disease, which would otherwise result in rigidity.

When you see someone with those movements, it’s not because they have not taken medication but because they probably have taken medication for some time,” the official said. “If you don’t take the medication, then you freeze.”

Limbaugh continued the assault today, calling Fox’s video “an attack ad” that is “filled with disinformation about embryonic stem cell research.”