Martha Carlin married the love of her life in 1995. She and John Carlin had ated briefly in college in Kentucky, then lost touch until a chance meeting years later at a Dallas pub. They wed soon after
and had two children. John worked as an entrepreneur and stay-at-home dad. In his free time, he ran
Almost eight years into their marriage, the
pinky finger on John’s right hand began to quiver.
So did his tongue. Most disturbing for Martha was
how he looked at her. For as long as she’d known
him, he’d had a joy in his eyes. But then, she says,
he had a stony stare, “like he was looking through
me.” In November 2002, a doctor diagnosed John
with Parkinson’s disease. He was 44 years old.
Carlin made it her mission to understand how
her seemingly fit husband had developed such a
debilitating disease. “The minute we got home
from the neurologist, I was on the internet looking for answers,” she recalls. She began consuming
all of the medical literature she could find.
With her training in accounting and corporate
consulting, Carlin was used to thinking about how
the many parts of large companies came together
as a whole. That kind of wide-angle perspective
John Carlin (left) was
16 years ago. His wife,
Martha (right), founded
a company to help
research the theory that
gut microbes play a role
in the disease.
Researchers begin to explore the gut’s link to this brain disease
By Laura Beil