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Is your body your own?
A doctor speaking to a patient.A vigorous 33-year-old professional, you have just been diagnosed with Parkinson's disease, a degenerative disease that is likely to cripple you within 15 years. You may lose the ability to walk, to button your shirt, to use the bathroom. Drugs can sometimes help, but there is no cure.

Your doctor tells you about an experimental treatment in which genetically modified cells from a pig are used to replace your dying brain cells. It's called xenotransplantation (from the Greek root "xeno," meaning "foreign"), and you are familiar with it because your wife is a physician. Your doctor suggests you try it, in part because she has nothing else to offer you.

Should you participate in the research and try the experimental treatment?
Clicking on "yes" or "no" will move you to the next page. You will have a chance to reconsider your answer when you get to the end of the case and have explored some of the ramifications of your decision, but you cannot click back!
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Is your body your own?
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"I was unable to move, unable to talk, unable to walk."
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Did you know?
Of the roughly 6,000 rare diseases that affect approximately 25 million Americans, about 5,000 are genetic. (There are about 10,000 known genetic diseases in all.) The vast majority of genetic diseases are incurable and have no effective treatment. Parkinson's disease, which affects 1–1.5 million people nationally, is a progressive neurological disease in which the portion of the brain that makes the chemical dopamine dies. In Parkinson's patients, all motor activity, from walking to speaking to swallowing, is eventually affected.