The former U.S. Attorney General's doctors say that the disease, while unpredictable, would not likely bar her from seeking the Democratic nomination, the St. Petersburg Times reported Sunday. "There's a tremendous variation in what happens to people, and currently there's no test that can predict what's going to happen to anybody," Reno's lead physician, Dr. William Weiner of the University of Maryland, told the newspaper.
"Someone like her comes to me six years into the disease and I say, 'This is good. You're going to have progression, but it's probably going to be slow like in the past.'" Reno, who was diagnosed with the disease in November 1995, says she plans to decide "in a month or so," or at least by mid-September, whether to challenge Jeb Bush for the governorship. She told the newspaper she would release her medical records if she decides to enter the race.
"My real concern is: Would (Parkinson's) have any adverse effect on my being governor? The doctors say no. I don't feel any adverse effect," Reno said. "I didn't feel it on my abilities as attorney general or what I'm doing now." Parkinson's Disease causes the progressive degeneration of brain neurons that control muscle movements. It causes Reno's hands and arms to tremble and shake.
Her doctors said she takes two medications daily and has not shown any side-effects. Dr. William Koller of the University of Miami, Reno's other neurologist, said she responds well to medication and is healthy.
"We always tell the patient, one, they need to stay active, and minimize the effect of the disease. When they're engaged and have goals, they just do better in general," Koller said. Someone with Parkinson's also needs to know when it's time to rest, so they avoid pushing themselves too far, Koller said.
"She has a lot of energy and a lot of common sense," he said. "I think she knows when it's time to rest." Reno, 63, could join a growing field of Democrats seeking the nomination, including House Majority Leader Lois Frankel of West Palm Beach, state Sen. Daryl Jones of Miami and Tampa lawyer Bill McBride. Former Ambassador to Vietnam Douglas "Pete" Peterson and U.S. Rep. Jim Davis of Tampa are also considering entering the race.