Jeremy Paxman was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease after a doctor saw him while presenting University Challenge and noticed that he was less ‘effusive and exuberant’ than usual.
The broadcaster revealed his Parkinson’s diagnosis in May last year, sharing that he was receiving ‘excellent treatment’ for the brain disorder, which leads to shaking, stiffness, and difficulty with walking, balance, and coordination.
His diagnosis came when he was in hospital after collapsing while out with his Spaniel-Dalmation cross, after which he was seen recovering from the fall using a walking cane.
During his time in hospital, the former Newsnight presenter revealed that he was told his face had taken on a ‘Parkinson’s mask’.
Recalling when he was out walking the dog and later received the diagnosis, Paxman revealed: ‘It was completely out of the blue.’
He shared: ‘The first thing I knew was when somebody was sitting me on a bench. I’d fallen over and I made a terrible mess of my face.
‘I’d gone straight down on my hooter, which, as you can see, is not small. Cuts all over the place. I was a real mess.’
He recalled being in A&E when a doctor told him: ‘I think you’ve got Parkinson’s.’
Paxman continues in his new ITV documentary, Paxman: Putting Up With Parkinson’s: ‘And it turned out that he had been watching University Challenge and had noticed that my face had acquired what’s known as the Parkinson’s mask.
‘I wasn’t as effusive and exuberant as normal. I had no idea.’
This comes after the University Challenge host admitted that he is open to trying cannabis to manage his Parkinson’s, having spoken to Sharon Osbourne, whose husband Ozzy also lives with the neurological condition and has been open about his own health woes in the past.
In new ITV documentary, Paxman: Putting Up with Parkinson’s, Osbourne discusses how her husband, 73, uses cannabidiol (CBD), which aids with his ‘unsettling dreams’, something Paxman also experiences.
She tells him, according to The Sun: ‘He [Ozzy] was always on something, he always loved to dabble with the old drugs.
But now he takes this stuff at night. What’s this stuff that everybody smokes? Marijuana. It is something from that, Cannabidiol.’
The former X Factor judge goes on to joke that she will ‘bring some over’ from the States for him.
Assuring the presenter that he’ll ‘love it’ she adds: ‘I’ll bring it back for you, Jeremy. I’ll probably get arrested coming through customs, but that’s nothing new.’
The former Newsnight presenter then declares to the 69-year-old: ‘I’m on for it!’
University Challenge continues next Monday at 8:30pm on BBC 2.
Paxman: Putting Up With Parkinson’s will be broadcast at 9pm on Tuesday October 4 on ITV, and will also be available on the ITV Hub.
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