The Future Therapy Of Parkinsons: Diet Probiotics And Prebiotics
In any case, Finnish scientists working with Scheperjans are confident that the intestinal flora will play an important role in the development of new therapies for Parkinsons for decades to come. These forms of therapy will include dietary changes, the use of probiotics and prebiotics, and stool transplants.
In recent years we have discovered the importance of the connection between the gut and the brain in relation to Parkinsons, says Scheperjans.
And Dr Patrik Brundin, editor-in-chief of the Journal of Parkinsons Disease comments that the gut is now the focus of Parkinsons research. We are confident that there will be tremendous progress in the next 20 years. Because changes in the Gut health can help diagnose Parkinsons disease earlier, while therapies that affect those changes can delay the disease. This includes measures as simple as eliminating chronic constipation and improving overall bowel function.
Image Credit: Getty
Confusion With Essential Tremor
The tremor of Parkinsons disease is often confused with the tremor of a condition called Essential Tremor, or Benign Familial Tremor . Katherine Hepburn had Essential Tremor, and was originally misdiagnosed with Parkinsons. Ronald Reagan also had Essential Tremor. Both had a head tremor and a vocal tremor. In Essential Tremor, the hands are most commonly involved, followed by the head and then the voice. Essential Tremor can also cause the jaw to tremor, and it may be difficult to figure out if a jaw tremor is from Essential Tremor or Parkinsons. Unfortunately, some people may have both disorders. Some authorities believe that there is, in fact, an increased association between the two conditions, so that more people with Parkinsons disease have Essential Tremor than would be expected by chance alone, but this has not been established.
Do Pathological Deposits Migrate From The Intestine To The Brain
More and more studies suggest that Parkinsons actually begins in the digestive system, at least in those affected who had digestive disorders years before being diagnosed.
In March 2017, researchers stated in a study that typical Parkinsons deposits in the brain, the so-called alpha-synuclein protein, which causes nerve cells to die, can migrate from the brain to the stomach via the vagus nerve.
However, some scientists also suspect that the deposits take the opposite route, namely that alpha-synuclein could possibly enter the digestive system with food and travel from there to the brain.
There is talk of a pathologically leaky intestinal mucosa , which together with dysbiosis excessively stimulates the immune system and could lead to chronic inflammation and overactivation of nerve cells, with the subsequent alpha-synuclein formation.
One of the latest and important pieces of research supporting the gut-brain hypothesis for Parkinsons has been published in the journal Neuron and has been conducted by scientists at Johns Hopkins University.
Lesions In The Olfactory Bulb Olfactory Tract And Anterior Olfactory Nucleus
In 16 cases, one or more anterior olfactory structures displayed PD-related pathology . Elongated rather than thick-caliber LNs surpassed small LBs numerically. The lesions occurred in layers VVI of the olb, which is characterized by a concentric eight-layered lamination pattern , as well as in the otr and cellular islands of the aon harbored by the otr. Exceptionally dense accumulations of LNs interspersed by LBs could be seen in the aon, which contained 2 types of neurons: both presented with LBs and both contained lipofuscin granules . Where portions of above-mentioned anterior olfactory entities from both hemispheres were intact , the lesions were bilateral in 1 case . In 1 case , the olb and otr were the only sites sustaining damage in addition to the dmo . In no instance were anterior olfactory structures affected to the exclusion of all other nuclear grays examined . The olfactory tubercle, piriform cortex, and periamygdaloid cortex did not contain LNs and/or LBs .
What Is Parkinsons Disease
Parkinsons disease is a degenerative and chronic brain disorder that affects movement. It can affect other brain functions such as learning and memory.
What Are Symptoms of Parkinsons Disease?
Parkinsons disease usually starts slowly and may only cause mild symptoms early on. As the condition progresses, symptoms may begin to affect a person’s ability to do everyday activities, and as the disease becomes severe, people may need help with self-care.
The three primary symptoms of Parkinsons disease include:
- Shaking , which often start in the fingers or hands
- Slow movement
Other symptoms of Parkinsons disease may include:
- Loss of balance
- Loss of ability to think clearly
- Losing touch with reality or seeing things that aren’t there
- Sleep problems such as insomnia and daytime sleepiness
- Sudden drop in blood pressure on standing that causes dizziness, lightheadedness, or fainting
Trouble Moving Or Walking
Do you feel stiff in your body, arms or legs? Have others noticed that your arms dont swing like they used to when you walk? Sometimes stiffness goes away as you move. If it does not, it can be a sign of Parkinson’s disease. An early sign might be stiffness or pain in your shoulder or hips. People sometimes say their feet seem stuck to the floor.
What is normal?If you have injured your arm or shoulder, you may not be able to use it as well until it is healed, or another illness like arthritis might cause the same symptom.
Parkinsons Disease Could Start In The Gut As Current Research Suggests Typical Parkinsons Deposits Can Be Detected Not Only In The Brain But Also In The Digestive System
Parkinsons disease is, like Alzheimers, a neurodegenerative disorder. It affects more than 4 million people around the world and usually develops after the age of 60.
In this disease, progressive destruction of nerve cells in the brain occurs. Typical symptoms include muscle tremors, muscle stiffness, slow movements, and unstable posture. For now, it is incurable and no specific causes are known.
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Caring For Someone With Parkinsons
Practice patience and understanding when dealing with Parkinsons. You may be very frustrated and challenged as a caregiver, but those with Parkinsons are just as frustrated. Their physical and mental conditions can be debilitating, depressing, and humiliating.
Diet and nutrition can have a huge impact on the health and comfort of a Parkinson patient. Eating well, getting more rest, sleeping well, fresh air, and exercise can make a difference. Getting the right medication and complementary therapies is also important.
As Parkinsons impacts a patients motor skills, modifications to the living environment may have to be made to accommodate wheelchairs and limited mobility issues. Professional in-home assistance for Parkinsons can allow Parkinson patients to remain independent and can enhance quality of life.
Most importantly, seek help and support from family, friends, and caregiving support groups. Take advantage of the resources in your community. Shouldering all the burden can take a toll on a caregiver.
Take care of yourself or you wont be able to take care of your loved one. Follow the preventive advice provided above for yourself as well, and take deep breaths!
Stooping Or Hunched Posture
People who have Parkinsons disease may notice changes in their posture due to other symptoms of the disease, such as muscle rigidity.
People naturally stand so that their weight is evenly distributed over their feet. However, people who have Parkinsons disease may start bending forward, making them appear hunched or stooped over.
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The 5 Stages Of Parkinsons Disease
Getting older is underrated by most. Its a joyful experience to sit back, relax and watch the people in your life grow up, have kids of their own and flourish. Age can be a beautiful thing, even as our bodies begin to slow down. We spoke with David Shprecher, DO, movement disorders director at Banner Sun Health Research Institute about a well-known illness which afflicts as many as 2% of people older than 65, Parkinsons Disease.
Does Parkinsons Affect Voice
The voice is affected too, because the voice box is ultimately controlled by the basal ganglia as well. Thus the voice becomes soft, slurred and hushed. Others may comment that the patient is mumbling. The mumbling goes away temporarily once the patient becomes aware of it but soon returns to the soft, slurred state.
This temporary improvement when attention is paid is true of many of the motor symptoms of PD because the condition primarily affects subconscious movements, and does not directly affect nerve or muscle control at the most basic level. Thus, conscious awareness can override the slowness to a certain extent. This fact is one reason why physical therapy and physical activity are so useful and necessary in treating PD.
- Slowness of walking and other movements
- Trouble with dexterity
Imbalance, loss of balance reflexes
- May fall backwards
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What Treatments Are Available
Many Parkinson’s patients enjoy an active lifestyle and a normal life expectancy. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle by eating a balanced diet and staying physically active contributes to overall health and well-being. Parkinson’s disease can be managed with self-care, medication, and surgery.
Self careExercise is as important as medication in the treatment of PD. It helps maintain flexibility and improves balance and range of motion. Patients may want to join a support group and continue enjoyable activities to improve their quality of life. Equally important is the health and well being of the family and caregivers who are also coping with PD. For additional pointers, see Coping With Parkinsons Disease.
These are some practical tips patients can use:
Medications There are several types of medications used to manage Parkinson’s. These medications may be used alone or in combination with each other, depending if your symptoms are mild or advanced.
After a time on medication, patients may notice that each dose wears off before the next dose can be taken or erratic fluctuations in dose effect . Anti-Parkinsons drugs can cause dyskinesia, which are involuntary jerking or swaying movements that typically occur at peak dosage and are caused by an overload of dopamine medication. Sometimes dyskinesia can be more troublesome than the Parkinsons symptoms.
Who Does Parkinsons Disease Affect
- PD typically affects older adults. Most people are diagnosed in their 60s.
- Young-Onset Parkinsons disease occurs in people younger than 50 and accounts for about 4% of people living with PD. Although symptoms are similar, people with Young-Onset PD often face different financial, family and employment concerns.
- On average, men are 1.5 times more likely to have PD than women. This is not the case for Black men and women, who are at similar risk for PD.
- Many studies find that Black and African Americans are less likely to be diagnosed with PD than white people. This may be due to the underrepresentation of Black patients in the healthcare system overall, underdiagnosis and delays in PD diagnosis for Black and African Americans, or genetic differences.
- There are approximately 110,000 veterans with PD who are seen through the Veterans Health Administration.
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How Is Parkinson Disease Diagnosed
Parkinson disease can be hard to diagnose. No single test can identify it. Parkinson can be easily mistaken for another health condition. A healthcare provider will usually take a medical history, including a family history to find out if anyone else in your family has Parkinsons disease. He or she will also do a neurological exam. Sometimes, an MRI or CT scan, or some other imaging scan of the brain can identify other problems or rule out other diseases.
Who Gets Parkinsons Disease
Estimates vary, but about 1 million people are living with Parkinsons disease in the U.S. Doctors diagnose about 60,000 cases a year, most in people over age 60. Younger people can also get Parkinsons. About 5-10% of patients have young-onset Parkinsons disease, diagnosed before age 50.
About 15% of patients have Parkinsons-plus syndromes, also known as atypical Parkinsons. Medications may be less effective for these syndromes, which can lead to disability sooner.
Risk factors for Parkinsons disease include:
- Age: Risk increases with age. Average age at diagnosis is 65.
- Gender: Men are at higher risk.
- Environmental exposure: Lifetime exposure to well water, which may contain pesticide runoff, can increase risk. So can exposure to air particles containing heavy metals, such as in industrial areas.
- Family history: Having a close relative with the disease could increase your risk. Researchers have identified a dozen genes that may be linked to Parkinsons disease.
- Sleep disorder: People who act out their dreams are up to 12 times more likely to develop Parkinsons disease. Its not clear whether this condition, called REM sleep behavior disorder or RBD, is a cause or symptom of Parkinsons disease.
- Head trauma: Traumatic brain injury increases risk of Parkinsons, even years later.
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Stooping Or Hunching Over
Are you not standing up as straight as you used to? If you or your family or friends notice that you seem to be stooping, leaning or slouching when you stand, it could be a sign of Parkinson’s disease .
What is normal?If you have pain from an injury or if you are sick, it might cause you to stand crookedly. Also, a problem with your bones can make you hunch over.
Leaky Gut Flora Disorders And Inflammation
As Dr Scheperjans points out, since alpha-synuclein deposits can also be found in the nervous system of the digestive system, concrete research must now be conducted to determine whether these deposits are actually identical to those in the brain.
Excessive permeability of the intestinal mucosa appears to trigger alpha-synuclein deposits in the intestine. Therefore, it must now be verified whether Parkinsons patients actually have a leaky gut syndrome.
Until now, the so-called immunohistochemistry has been used as a method to locate alpha-synuclein deposits, although with inconsistent results, so it is necessary to develop new methods to achieve more precise results.
Large clinical studies with Parkinsons patients are required to fully investigate the mechanisms that could be behind the influence of the gut in the development of Parkinsons disease. The composition of the intestinal flora of each patient should be examined before and after a diagnosis of Parkinsons.
What Are The Causes
The cause of Parkinsons is largely unknown. Scientists are currently investigating the role that genetics, environmental factors, and the natural process of aging have on cell death and PD.
There are also secondary forms of PD that are caused by medications such as haloperidol , reserpine , and metoclopramide .
The Nervous System & Dopamine
To understand Parkinson’s, it is helpful to understand how neurons work and how PD affects the brain .
Nerve cells, or neurons, are responsible for sending and receiving nerve impulses or messages between the body and the brain. Try to picture electrical wiring in your home. An electrical circuit is made up of numerous wires connected in such a way that when a light switch is turned on, a light bulb will beam. Similarly, a neuron that is excited will transmit its energy to neurons that are next to it.
Neurons have a cell body with branching arms, called dendrites, which act like antennae and pick up messages. Axons carry messages away from the cell body. Impulses travel from neuron to neuron, from the axon of one cell to the dendrites of another, by crossing over a tiny gap between the two nerve cells called a synapse. Chemical messengers called neurotransmitters allow the electrical impulse to cross the gap.
Neurons talk to each other in the following manner :
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In The Loop: Staying Ahead Of Parkinsons Disease One Ping Pong Game At A Time
Since being diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease, Steve Grinnell has worked hard to stay active, stepping up his table tennis game and, thanks to co-workers, testing his skills outside his home.
Four years ago, Steve Grinnell’s life was forever changed when doctors at Mayo Clinic in Rochester diagnosed him with early-onset Parkinson’s disease. Since that time, the progressive nervous system disorder has begun to take a toll on Steve and his family, just as it does on the millions of other Americans living with the disease. “It has greatly diminished his quality of life, leaving him with tremors, physical exhaustion, impaired balance, troubled grasping things with his right hand, slow right-arm movement and problems sleeping,” the Rochester Post-Bulletin recently reported. “That’s to name just a few of his symptoms.”
Reading that, one might assume the disorder is winning. And to Steve, sometimes it feels like it is. But much of the time, he tells us he also feels like he’s staying one step ahead of the disease by staying as physically active as possible. “Parkinson’s presents such a conundrum because it wears you down physically, and yet exercise is so valuable,” Steve says. “My legs, feet and right arm are always cramping, so it takes mental effort to get moving.”
Parkinsons Doesnt Always Cause Dementia
While cognitive decline is common in both Alzheimers and Parkinsons, it is less likely to occur in Parkinsons patients. According to studies, only half of those with Parkinsons develop cognitive difficulties. This can range from mild forgetfulness to full-blown dementia.
When dementia does manifest itself with Parkinson, it occurs in the subcortical area of the brain. Alzheimers dementia occurs in the cortical area of the brain. As a result of this, the clinical symptoms of these two dementias can be somewhat different.
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Parkinson’s Disease Diet And Nutrition
Maintaining Your Weight With Parkinson’s Disease
Malnutrition and weight maintenance is often an issue for people with Parkinson’s disease. Here are some tips to help you maintain a healthy weight.
- Weigh yourself once or twice a week, unless your doctor recommends weighing yourself often. If you are taking diuretics or steroids, such as prednisone, you should weigh yourself daily.
- If you have an unexplained weight gain or loss , contact your doctor. He or she may want to modify your food or fluid intake to help manage your condition.
- Avoid low-fat or low-calorie products. . Use whole milk, whole milk cheese, and yogurt.