Andy Grove noticed an occasional tremor in the index finger of his right hand. it was 1999, when Grove was 63 and had just stepped down as the chief executive of chipmaker Intel. His physician dismissed the twitchy digit. A year later another doctor nudged him to see a specialist in movement disorders. "She had me close my eyes, put my head in my hands, and count backwards from 100 by sevens," says Grove.
The doctor told him he had Parkinson's disease. "It didn't mean much to me," he recalls. "I didn't know anyone with Parkinson's." His younger daughter, who had accompanied him to the appointment, nearly fainted. A physical therapist, she had worked with Parkinson's patients who were homebound and unable to feed themselves.
Andrew Grove, a man who survived the Nazis, the Communists, scarlet fever, prostate cancer and Bill Gates to run what was briefly one of the world's five most valuable companies, is saddled with a disease that will eventually rob him of control over his body. But before it debilitates him, Grove is going to fight. Over the past eight years Grove has immersed himself in the minutiae of the disease and has used his money and his stature to agitate for more and faster research on the neurology of Parkinson's. "You can't go close to this and not get angry," says Grove. "There are so many people working so hard and achieving so little."
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