An interview with Matt Couchman from Tremr Stories on October 19, 2023 by George Ackerman, Ph.D, J.D.
I was born 53 years ago in the south of England where I spent a very happy childhood. I studied Computer Science at Hatfield and then Norwich. I stayed in Norwich beyond my graduation where I found love with my wife Lisa. We are very lucky to have two lovely daughters who brighten every day. I have worked as a Bioinformatician at the John Innes Centre in Norwich for nearly 30 years.
What is your passion and how did you get involved in Parkinson’s awareness and hope for a cure?
I must confess, I didn’t pay much attention to PD until I was diagnosed with it in 2016. That soon focuses one’s mind! My blog is a mixture of personal experience and my attempts to make sense of the science behind Parkinson’s disease and its various treatments. I focus more on the treatments than the hope for a cure though I did write entries about the significance of an AI breakthrough with respect to researching a cure.
N.B. Actually, I discovered that I could make music on my computer about two years ago and that has become an all-consuming passion. I go under the name Lost Signal as a reference to the lack of Dopamine transmitters in the PD brain and a lot of my titles and lyrics are also directly or indirectly influenced by PD.
What type of goals do individuals with Parkinson’s have when seeing your advocacy?
I don’t know if my blog sets goals for those individuals, but I hope that it is written in such a way that they can relate to me and my fight against Parkinson’s and pick up on the things that I have found useful and perhaps avoid some of the pitfalls that I have come across.
What would you like to see as a future goal for your advocacy?
My goals are modest. I would like to write entries more regularly, increase my readership and try and get more involved in the Parkinson’s Community.
What events do you participate in?
I took part in the 2021 Sports Parkinson’s Try-Athlon in Worcester and the Cure Parkinson’s Cup (a walking football tournament) earlier this year.
How does your advocacy also assist caregivers?
I don’t think my blog does much to assist caregivers other than provide some insight into my version of Parkinson’s. When I started the blog, I hoped that I could use it as a platform for lots of guest entries from others with Parkinson’s, carers, relatives, and healthcare professionals to give a broader picture. It turned out that, although it was possible, the process of setting up a new account was too lengthy and complicated, so I had to scale back my plan.
How can someone get in touch? What is your website?
My website is called Tremr and can be found at https://tremr.blogspot.com. People can leave comments under the entries. Comments are moderated by me before they appear after my site got spammed. I am part of a thriving and supportive network of people with Parkinson’s on Twitter (https://twitter.com/tremrstories) where people can tweet me or DM me, I also welcome emails to email@example.com.
How can others also become advocates for awareness?
To start with, I would suggest getting involved with the Parkinson’s networks on Twitter and Reddit (https://www.reddit.com/r/Parkinsons/). I have found both to be receptive and supportive and a great source of information and hope. If they are IT savvy or know someone who can help, I would also recommend writing a blog of their own. I have found it a great way to put my thoughts in order, it has put me in touch with some lovely people and generated interesting opportunities.
If you had one final statement or quote you could leave for the Parkinson’s community, what would it be?
I’m going to mangle two famous quotes (sorry): “No man is an island so don’t be a stranger.”