Westwood Village Rotary as September begins, the 5th

Correct time for the Picnic - 2:30 to 5, on Sunday Sept 22nd.  So the lovely invitation you received recently is correct in every detail except the time, OK?  So note, 2:30 starting.

We may set a new record for announcements during the still-young tenure of Prexy TED.
But before we get to those, these notes:  BRUCE HARRIS led the Pledge, with America the song, as accompanied by JACK HARRIS and led by PP STEVE DAY.  On the subject of our songs, by the way, I just learned that the first word of the song I led last week should be You're, NOT It's - which I mention in the continuing effort at complete and impartial accuracy…Anyway, SUSAN ALLEN provided the Invocation, beginning with a request for a moment of silence in memory of those who died on 9/11.  She reminded us all that we should go forward with the values of Rotary.  Thank you, SUSAN.

LILLIAN KLEIWER brought along her oldest daughter, Christie, who is 12.  Prexy TED next made special mention of RALPH SMITH and PP CHRIS GAYNOR, co-chairs of Vocational Service.  They also have stepped forward to recruit, coach and play softball when we meet those upstarts from Manhattan Beach Rotary.  However, these kind words had a price for them both.  PP CHRIS admitted that he was in NY to see the US Open, which cost him forty clams.  RALPH was nicked for fifty, in response to his reluctant admission that he had been elected to the Board of Directors of the Bel Air Property Owners Assoc. GEORGE COX was asked to stand, and Prexy TED asked him if he had brought along his witnesses (per AL BELANCA'S confession of last week).  AL, that is a great line.  Anyway, GEORGE was proud to admit that he and Mary Fran just celebrated their FIFTY FIFTH Anniversary!  They REALLY celebrated, staying at the Ritz Carlton in Laguna Niguel. They had a big family dinner, and GEORGE opened a bottle of Chateau Lafitte Rothchild '41, which he had been saving.  Not a high point - it hadn't survived the sixty three-year incubation - but everything else went well. However all good things have a price - multiplying $2 times 55 years brought the fine to $110.  The last member called on the carpet was JIM BECHTEL - seems he felt he was almost forced to play at Pebble Beach last week, and though he thanked Wells Fargo for asking him, he still had to pay $50 for "green fees". JIM reminded us all that next week the program will feature the surgical team who separated the two conjoined twins recently at UCLA.  As a minor editorial, YOE suggests this would be a good time to invite a prospective member, OK?

RUDY ALVAREZ introduced our Ambassadorial Scholar, Fuminori Minamikawa, who will be returning to Japan next week after completing his work at UCLA. He has been at UCLA for two years, and he thanked us for our hospitality while here. We wish him Godspeed on his return flight.  RUDY reminded us again of the correct time for the Picnic - 2:30 starting - and I then had to confess that I would not be running the games this year.  PP MIKE NEWMAN has stepped forward in my place, and I thank MIKE for the help.

September birthdays were next, led off by PP HOWARD SISKEL on the lst - and he is one of those natives of LA.  Next up was TONY MARRONE (also known as Floyd) who arrived on the 6th in Pueblo, CO.  PP JIM DOWNIE had double duty, playing accompaniment as the birthdays were called out, but also having arrived in Minneapolis on Sept. 8th.  ED JACKSON came along on the 12th - he's another Angelino, and did you know ED was a starting forward on the Washington State basketball team?  However, he's a Bruin now, rooting for UCLA every time except when they play his Old Alma…
You might be able to figure that with a first named like SEAN, Mr. McMILLAN was born in Ireland - the date was the 27th.  And SLOSSON VIAU closes out the month, on the 30th, when he arrived in Fresno.  Everyone received a 'rhinestone tic tac' as a present, plus of course the obligatory HBD song.

And speaking of SLOSS, remember that he is collecting clothing and children's books for the Salvation Army Westwood Transitional Village, this week and next.  So his car will again be in the parking lot at the hotel, and this is an important need, please.  Since Prexy TED had earlier admitted that he had several announcements, they follow: On Monday the 23rd, Beverly Hills Rotary will be inducting Larry King into their club.  It should be quite a show, and if you wish to go, remember that advance reservations are needed.
Also, the Paul Harris Foundation Dinner on November 2nd is SOLD OUT!  That rewards those of us who signed up early, so it you still want to be included, they may take a wait-list.  Check with PP DOUG, please.

PP STEVE DAY introduced our Speaker, Michel Levesque, M.D.  DR Levesque completed all his university training in Montreal, and is Board Certified by the American Board of Neurological Surgery and the Royal College of Surgery. He is the director of the Neural Repair and Functional Neurosurgery Center at Cedars-Sinai, an associate professor at the UCLA School of Medicine, and is the principal investigator for Celmed Biosciences USA.  His subject was his research using adult neural stem cells to improve the debilitating effects of Parkinson's.

There are over one million patients who suffer from Parkinson's, and its true cause is still unknown.  However, the disease does create an imbalance within the brain, which effects motor control and balance.  His research involves removing adult neural cells surgically, then re-injecting them into the brain where from 10% to 60% of the cells survive. His research is testing whether these re-injected cells can repair existing damaged cells.

The cells which are withdrawn are incubated over a six-month period, and they reproduce in huge numbers.  As an example, as few as 20 to 50 neural stem cells can generate up to 25 million stem cells!  Of these, perhaps 15% of the dopamine neurons survive.  The FDA has approved human testing on 12 patients, starting with the first patient in 1998.  He was given injections of neural stem cells at that time, and it appears that perhaps one million of the cells survived the transplant.  Thirty months after the surgery, the patient has no symptoms - this is an 88% improvement over his beginning condition in 1998

Q&A - LILLIAN KLIEWER -Do different types of cells allow other cells to reproduce.  Yes.  PP STEVE SCHERER - Where is this done and what does it cost. The only location is Cedars-Sinai, but it is not yet available.   RALPH BEASOM - How long have you followed this patient.  Ever since 1998 - 3 l/2 years so far - and it continues.   PP GEORGE DEA - At what stage does this operation occur.  It depends entirely on the individual patient.  CATHY REZOS  - What about the 12 patients to be treated.  We have only worked on one so far, with eleven yet to go, and the tests are blind, not double blind.  Prexy TED - how long will the trial last, and what is the next step.  Six months after our last patient, so a total of perhaps two years.  This could allow forty-eight patients in four years, and there may be FDA approval in four to ten years.  JACK HARRIS  - Is Alzheimer's in the same category as Parkinson's. Not really, but they will be testing a variety of patients, based on age.  The younger ones have better results.  PP GEORGE DEA - How long until a cure is found.  This treatment is not a cure, but it lasts a long time, and looks helpful.  Someone asked if Tremor and Parkinson's were related.
They have similar symptoms, but Parkinson's affects movement more. Prexy TED -Is there reversal of symptoms.  Yes, this does improve symptoms.  DON NELSON - So you stick a needle into the skull, twice.  Yes, it is a sensitive operation.  SUSAN ALLEN - are there any side effects.  Not yet.

WOW - I just hope some of what my notes show will be helpful in beginning to understand this amazing technique.  Thank you, Dr. Levesque.

YOE, Ernie Wolfe