S. Carolina U.S. Rep. Spratt says Parkinson's won't slow him down

U.S. Rep. John Spratt said he has all but known for two years that he has Parkinson's disease.

It was in December, when a neurologist at Duke University put him through a battery of tests, that he got an official prognosis. And it was this week that Spratt decided to go public with the news.

"I didn't want to raise alarm about something which really wasn't anything to be alarmed about," the 67-year-old York Democrat said Wednesday in an interview.

A day after making the disclosure, South Carolina's longest-serving congressman pledged to show his 5th District constituents that he isn't slowing down.

"Part of the solution is to let them see me out and about, doing the job I've always done," he said. "I haven't changed my schedule, my lifestyle or my work habits. And I don't intend to."

If Spratt is like as many as 1 million Americans thought to be living with Parkinson's, he should be able to maintain his current pace, according to interviews with a local neurologist and others familiar with the disease.

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