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Parkinson's Disease and Integrative Medicine

Patrick Massey MD, PhD
ALT-MED Medical and Physical Therapy
Elk Grove Village IL and serving the Chicago area

A degenerative, central nervous system disorder characterized by tremors (shaking), rigidity, slow intentional movement as well as changes in memory and cognition. Parkinson’s disease is caused from the death of dopamine-containing cells in a specific part of the brain called the substantia nigra.

Parkinson’s disease is the second most common neurologic condition after Alzheimer’s disease, affecting about 0.3% of the population. The elderly are at greater risk of Parkinson’s disease. The annual cost of Parkinson’s disease is about 23 billion dollars.

Although the exact cause of cell death is unknown…some have theorized that chronic exposure to environmental toxins may increase the risk of Parkinson’s disease. Exposure to certain pesticides and herbicides can double the risk of developing Parkinson’s disease. Living in a rural area (increased farm use of pesticides and herbicides?) also increases the risk of Parkinson’s disease. Another toxic insult may be an accumulation of heavy metals in the substantia nigra. Exposure to heavy metals is common in urban communities.

The traditional medicine approach includes medications that are quite effective at managing early Parkinson’s disease. However, all medications become less effective over time. One reason for this is that the cells of the substantia nigra continue to be damaged and die. Eventually, there are not enough cells left even for medication to help. The traditional medicine approach is inadequate.

Select alternative approaches, including lifestyle changes, diet, assay and treatment for heavy metal exposure and specific exercise approaches have been shown slow the progress of Parkinson’s disease. Some vitamins and antioxidants may limit or prevent damage to nerves.

Dr. Massey often recommends intravenous vitamins and antioxidants for patients with Parkinson’s disease. Also, acupuncture, massage and other supplements may be beneficial in reducing the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease and long term success and independence.

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Tuesday June 18, 2024