I have a Parkinson’s Disease and dopamine related question:Â First, I was astounded to read that only 1/3Â of PD autopsies indicated degeneration of the substantia nigra.Â There is no history ofÂ PD in my family, so I immediately thought I could well be one of the misdiagnosed 2/3 -even though I underwent the full battery of tests to rule out other possible problems.
My specific question for you is about the efficacy of PD drugs as an indicator.Â IÂ believe I was told at the onset that if the PD medication controls my symptoms, then IÂ indeed have PD.Â If PD medication does nothing, I may only have Parkinsonism.Â What isÂ your opinion?
Without knowing the science behind this, I still believe miracles big and small happenÂ every day, and I don’t believe PD is a permanent fixture in my life. Last month IÂ proved to myself that attitude is everything: Reflecting back, I realized that I feltÂ much worse on July 29, 2009 than I did on July 27, 2009.Â Nothing had changed exceptÂ that I was told I may have PD.Â So, early last month, I decided to host a festiveÂ funeral for my PD, complete with a decorative shovel and a champagne toast.Â I haveÂ felt more capable and optimistic ever since!Â My symptoms are still present, but I knowÂ I already buried my PD, so it can’t be that!
In closing, I simply want to thank you for your precious work and the hope and optimismÂ left in its wake.
Response to Parkinsons Disease Question:
What an amazing report! You are indeed on the road to recovery.Â There is certainly no question that our thoughts are the most powerful force on earth.Â If we think we are sick, we remain sick. If we think we are well, we become well. If weÂ think we are on the road to recovery, we feel better and better over time. If we feelÂ all the dopamine producing cells in our body are dead, we give up and reserve a bed inÂ our neighborhood nursing home.
My research reveals that there is badly mistaken thinking about Parkinsons (which will soonÂ be archaic my work and others spreads like wildfire). Here is the mistaken logic:
The body has a given number of cells that produce dopamine.Â In some people – these cells begin to die off like soldiers at the Battle of the BulgeÂ in World War II.
By the time 80% are of these dopamine cells are dead the person has neurological symptoms that are destined to get worse andÂ worse over time. They are diagnosed with a condition known as Parkinson’s Disease.Â The only hope is to fill this sadly malfunctioning body with dopamine because it is notÂ capable of producing dopamine on its own.
This simplistic view does not match with my observations as a researcher. Why? I have interviewed hundreds and hundreds of persons withÂ Parkinson’s. Some of the interviews have been aired on my radio show. People tell me theÂ same story over and over but the details differ here and there. Here is a prototype ofÂ the story I hear everyday.
I loved to play ping pong when I was young.Â I gave it up years ago because I was diagnosed with Parkinsons DiseaseÂ One day – don’t ask me why – I decided to try and play ping pong again. Why not afterÂ all. It is a degenerative condition right?
Once I put the paddle in my hand and started playing all of my symptoms vanished. IÂ could play as well as when I was 20 years old. No one could tell I had Parkinsons ifÂ they were watching me play. When I stop playing the symptoms return.
In the report above I used the word ping pong. You can substitute dozens of otherÂ activities; e.g. – kick boxing, painting, singing, woodworking, tennis. martial arts.Â The list is endless.
Now I ask you and all others reading this now: How could the body return to a state ofÂ balance and harmony and be producing all the dopamine needed to maintain a steady handÂ to play ping pong and move seeminglessly if 80% of the dopamine producing cells in theÂ body were dead? Duh – Of course it could not.
Of course – a small percentage of persons do have a deterioration of dopamine producingÂ cells. Â Me research reveals that most people do not.
Why is it you ask when dopamine producing medicine is given symptoms are controlled inÂ the short run? The problem is not a dopamine production problem. It is an accessÂ problem. The body is not able to activate the pathways necessary to produce dopamineÂ because the pathways needed by the body to manufacture dopamine areÂ obstructed for one reason or another.
Instead of giving a scientific explanation permit me to explain theÂ problem the bodyÂ confronts by way of an analogy.
Imagine if you will that you and I are traveling down main street in Olympia, Washington to play ping pong at the YMCA. Â We encounter an unexpected road block and cannot getÂ through town. The road is closed. We peek ahead and see that there is anÂ accident involving two cars that are badly twisted.
The road we are traveling on on is analogous to one of our many neural pathways. TheÂ blockage we confront is a trauma that we have experienced in our life or a toxin or a bacteria that has invaded our body. The bodyÂ physically contorts inside when confronted with any of these three obstacles (i.e. – trauma, toxins or bacteria). Unless we set our intention to remove the obstacles,Â Â the blockage will remain though we may be able to pass partially push our way through theÂ blockage. Or, we can always take a detour which unfortunately creates an uncomfortable twist in theÂ pathway.
We take our detour and run into another road block. This time there is slipperyÂ gunk on the road way – toxins that have spilled from a gas truck that overturned. TheseÂ are analogous to the toxins in our body that are making it impossible for the delicate signalingÂ system to function in our neurological system.
We turn the car off to wait, then decide to turn the car back on and take anotherÂ detour. Oops – the car will not start because the alternator is broken. Sometimes genesÂ that are critical to the function of the hormonal system are shut down, genes likeÂ COMP. If that turns out to be the case, you simply have to wake the sleepy genes up.
Some people falsely belief that if a gene is “defective” you might as well pack yourÂ suitcase and head for your neighborhood nursing home now because there is no hope. ThatÂ idea too will be seen as middle ages thinking as the ability of the body to repair genes is better understood.
We got lucky and find ourselves stuck next to a repair garage and are lucky to get a replacementÂ alternator for the car in 15 minutes. We start her up again, turn around and takeÂ another detour. A mile down the road we confront a mother hen and her 12 chicksÂ crossing the road. Unfortunately, they are not interested in reaching the other side. Rather, they have a dedicated preference to hang out in the middle of the road,Â blocking our ability to pass.
A hen and her chicks on our journey to the ping pong courts is a symbol of all theÂ critters in our body that can obstruct the pathways the body needs to access to produceÂ dopamine. Which critters? The list includes among others bacteria, viruses and fungus in the form ofÂ candida. These critters are living entities in our body that a conscious of their own.
If we do not find a way to invite them to leave the roadway (and our body) the neuralÂ pathways in our body will be littered with obstructions.
Once we arrive at our destination at the ping pong courts our bodies relax. StressÂ dissolves. We are finally ready to have some fun. Our bodies are finally able toÂ relax from the our series of roadblocks on our journey to the ping pong courts. The sameÂ type of obstructions occur over flashes of time as neurological signalling is sent andÂ Â received.
What does it really mean when dopamine supplements are given to a person who confrontsÂ one or more of the roadblocks above? Some people do feel better. The good news is that they can function normally sometimes for years. Â But the problems that are causing the symptoms are not addressed with dopamine supplements.
Dopamine does not heal the trauma. It continues toÂ linger. Dopamine does not release the toxins. They too still hide out in the crevices of our body. And, dopamine does not kill the harmful bacteria in the body. They too continue to thrive inside the body (where it is warm and cozy) and not outside (where it is cold and dangerous).
Supplementation of dopamine (whether through medications or supplements) overrides the normal operatingÂ system used by the body to manufacture and access dopamine.
To clarify – the ping pong courts were sitting there waiting for us to use them. WeÂ just discovered that access was obstructed by an accident (trauma), an oil spillÂ (toxins) and the chickens hanging out in the road war (critters). We are lucky if we get to play ping pong because all of our symptoms dissolve when we do.
If instead we get so frustrated with all the road blocks, we may simplyÂ give up our plan to play ping pong. It is just too difficult to get there. (Note – this is what happens to so many people who give up the activities they enjoy so passionately.)
We may decide instead to stop at the bakery and have dessert full of sugar and genetically modified wheat. Â When we arrive back home, we feel horrible and have to go to bed,
The problem inÂ summary is not a dopamine deficiency. It is a problem of access to dopamine. Help the body with the access problem and the symptoms will fade away into the sunset.
Robert Rodgers, PhD.
Road to Recovery from Parkinsons Disease