A Prisoner of Parkinson

Handcuffed hands of a prisoner behind the bars of a prison with orange clothes - Crispy desaturated dramatic filtered look

As a child of the 80’s and 90’s, I spent most of my evenings watching sitcoms like Family Ties, entertained by a lovable, charismatic actor – Michael J. Fox. Of course who can forget him in Back to the Future, Teen Wolf, Spin City and more, right?
Now imagine being imprisoned in your body, trapped by a movement disorder, your muscles contract uncontrollably. The contraction causes your body to twist involuntarily, resulting in repetitive movements or abnormal postures.
Forced into movements that imitates an uncoordinated dance. Shackled to a body that causes excessive sweating, tremor and spontaneous drop in blood pressure. Slowly losing your ability to walk, balance and perform simple daily tasks.
This week, I treated a vibrant, kind, intelligent man who developed Parkinson Disease in his 50’s. His spirit and sense of humor still shine bright. He is a prisoner of Parkinson Disease and every day he looks for ways to free himself from his chains. He asked me questions of Why, Who, Where, How and What can he do?
Havoc is caused by a dangerous prison gang- The Lewy Bodies.
The theory is a bad gang calling themselves Lewy bodies made up of clumped proteins, alpha-synuclein, invade and kill nerves in the brain slowly spreading disease as the disease advances.This abnormal protein has been found in the gut and in the brain of Parkinson patients.
Criminal Chemicals….  Farmers are at increased risk for Parkinson Disease. If you live in rural areas, frequency increases with exposure to pesticides, heavy metals, and drinking well water. Why? Parkinson’s is linked to Rotenone, a pesticide used in farming and a herbicide, Paraquat. Other chemicals such as Trichloroethylene, found in dry cleaning solvents, cleaning agents and metal factories have been linked to five-fold increase risk in Parkinson Disease.  (Neurology February 4, 2014 vol. 82 no. 5 419-426. )
Go to the GUT….  A recent study showed links between certain mixes of gut bacteria and a greater likelihood of developing Parkinson’s. (Cell Volume 167, Issue 6, p1469-1480.e12, 1 December 2016). Injecting gut bacteria from Parkinson’s patients into germ-free mice caused the mice to go from showing hardly any symptoms to deteriorating rapidly.
Highway that is the Vagus Nerve….. The Super Highway that possibly leads these abnormal proteins from the gut to the brain is the Vagus Nerve. A nerve that carries messages back and forth, now implicated in playing a role in the development of Parkinsons. Recent study in Neurology showed severing this super highway (Vagotomy) led to a 40% protective effect in developing Parkinson disease.  (Neurology  April 26, 2017)
What can be done to improve quality of life:

1.       Exercise daily- Tai chi and yoga can help maintain and improve balance

2.      Massage daily- reduces and relaxes muscle tension

3.      Alexander technique- focuses on muscle posture, balance how to move

4.      Meditation daily- reduces stress and pain, improves well-being

5.      Music, Art, Pets- all forms of spiritual activities can help relax and improve mood

6.      Diet high in anti-oxidants and omega-3 fatty acids

7.     Reduce exposure to pesticides, heavy metals, industrial solvents, dry cleaning

8.     Improve the gut microbiome- diversify your bacteria with fermented foods

9.      Supplements for neuroprotection: Co Q10, Creatine, NAC, bacopa, cowhage, gingko, turmeric (check with your doctor if appropriate for you)

10.  Fall precautions

11.   Consume green tea 3/day

12.  Consult a neurologist for prescription medications and/or surgery

13.  Consider early detection with SPECT DaTScan or functional brain MRI

Parkinson Disease is a complex condition with multifactorial agents playing a role. Genes, environment, diet, microbiome, pesticides, toxins, cleaning agents, head injuries, all have been implicated in the disease.
We are what we eat, breathe, drink and touch. It is my intention to share information so we may improve our collective health through the spread of knowledge and information. Share with someone you know!
The light in me, bows to the light in you~ Namaste
Dr. Patel was named one of the TOP DOCS in Phoenix Magazine 2009, 2016, Healthcare Provider of the Year 2017 by the Fountain Hills Chamber of Commerce and Internist of the Year 2011 by the American College of Physicians Arizona Chapter. She is uniquely trained, board-certified and practices both Pediatrics and Internal Medicine in Fountain Hills, Arizona. She is additionally fellowship trained in Integrative Medicine.
She has a passion for teaching medicine and acts as a preceptor for both medical residents and providers in training. Dr. Patel has a special interest in Integrative Medicine, Women’s health, Pediatric & Adolescent care, Nutrition and Medical Cosmetics.

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