Thursday, February 16, 2012

Prevention and treatment of Parkinson's Disease: ECT, nicotine, caffeine

The article below is by a Professor of Theoretical Medicine and, as for most medical people, his villain is "Big Pharma". I doubt that. The manic enthusiasm for new "discoveries" I see in the medical literature is the coloured person in the woodpile, as far as I can see. Aside from that one tic, however, the article seems of great interest

Some reflections on Parkinson's disease, and the related Lewy body dementia; which are the second most common cause of degenerative brain disease (after Alzheimer's) - increasingly common in the developed world, probably due to the 'ageing population'.

The current medical treatment of Parkinson's disease seems to be extremely poor.

It is based around L-dopa, which seems to be a miracle cure at first, for a short time, but then almost always produces severe side effects and/or loses its effect.

It looks as if L-dopa is just too powerful a drug (almost a pure neurotransmitter), and the brain responds by 'fighting' the drug - i.e. the brain's homeostatic mechanisms are seriously destabilised by L-dopa, and the patient veers between hyperstimulation and 'freezing'.

On the other hand, electroconvulsive therapy/ ECT/ electroshock has been shown to be effective in some patients with Parkinson's disease in numerous trials - yet this fact is virtually unknown.

ECT is a much safer treatment than L-dopa. And even if it wasn't, Parkinson's is an extremely severe and debilitating illness - indeed people have had experimental brain surgery and transplant procedures (albeit with little success) for Parkinson's.

So there seem no valid reason not to try a course of ECT in Parkinson's, and maintenance ECT if it produces significant benefit.

There is very strong evidence (mostly from studies of tobacco smoking) that nicotine is preventive of Parkinson's disease, and sometimes helps treat it. This is rational, given that nicotine indirectly increases dopamine activity.

Nicotine can be safely given with skin patches with minimal side effects (for most people).

Why is nicotine not used in prevention/ early-treatment of Parkinson's? Why is it not even tried?

There is also evidence that caffeine (coffee) is preventive of Parkinson's disease, and there is also a rationale for this because caffeine is a mild psychostimulant with dopamine boosting actions.

So, in Parkinson's disease we have a very serious and common disease with hopeless conventional treatment - we have in ECT a powerful treatment which almost certainly helps some people, even with severe PD - and we have in nicotine and caffeine two non-prescription treatments which almost certainly prevent the illness, and improve the early stage of the illness.

Why are they virtually unknown, why don't people try them?

Obviously, if they are tried and they don't work, or make things worse; then stop. But why not try, especially when current treatment is so bad?

With ECT there is a very obvious prejudice against the treatment - a fear and horror which is ignorantly and dishonestly stimulated.

At root, probably this is because ECT is opposed by Big Pharma who want people to take ineffective/ harmful medication instead of an effective physical treatment. Drugs are marketed to the tune of 1000 dollars per head of population in the USA. IN a competitive world, with a rate of turnover and change, simply by not being marketed, agents drop out of use.

With nicotine and caffeine there is the problem (folk belief, media manipulation) that these drugs are supposed to be 'bad for you' according to the mainstream mass media ideas of 'health promotion'. There is therefore an underlying discomfort in recommending for health reasons a lifestyle or treatment associated with smoking and drinking strong coffee.

Whatever the reasons, the complete uninterest in effective treatment for people with very severe, common, debilitating, distressing, progressive disease is altogether typical of modern society.

Contrary to what might be imagined, modernity cares little for functionality, is all-but indifferent to effectiveness.

So it really is possible for effective, safe and available treatments of a common and severe illness to languish, unused; despite that anyone with Google Scholar could find out about them in five minutes...

This is the actuality of the information revolution: knowledge hidden in plain sight.


N.C. Food ‘Inspector’ Sends little girl‘s Lunch Home After Determining It’s Not Healthy Enough

Scum who pick on little kids deserve the severest punishment

A North Carolina mom is irate after her four-year-old daughter returned home late last month with an uneaten lunch the mother had packed for the girl earlier that day. But she wasn’t mad because the daughter decided to go on a hunger strike. Instead, the reason the daughter didn‘t eat her lunch is because someone at the school determined the lunch wasn’t healthy enough and sent it back home.

Yes, you read that right.

The incident happened in Raeford, N.C. at West Hoke Elementary School. What was wrong with the lunch? That’s still a head-scratcher because it didn’t contain anything egregious: a turkey and cheese sandwich, banana, potato chips, and apple juice. But for the inspector on hand that day, it didn’t meet the healthy requirements.

See, in North Carolina, all pre-Kindergarten programs are required to evaluate the lunches being provided and determine if they meet USDA nutrition guidelines. If not, they must provide an alternative.

But that’s not the worst of it. Instead of being given a salad or something really healthy, the girl was given chicken nuggets instead. On top of it, her mother was then sent a bill for the cafeteria food.

Sara Burrows from the Carolina Journal explains:

The girl’s turkey and cheese sandwich, banana, potato chips, and apple juice did not meet U.S. Department of Agriculture guidelines, according to the interpretation of the agent who was inspecting all lunch boxes in her More at Four classroom that day.

The Division of Child Development and Early Education at the Department of Health and Human Services requires all lunches served in pre-kindergarten programs — including in-home day care centers — to meet USDA guidelines. That means lunches must consist of one serving of meat, one serving of milk, one serving of grain, and two servings of fruit or vegetables, even if the lunches are brought from home.

When home-packed lunches do not include all of the required items, child care providers must supplement them with the missing ones.

The girl’s mother — who said she wishes to remain anonymous to protect her daughter from retaliation — said she received a note from the school stating that students who did not bring a “healthy lunch” would be offered the missing portions, which could result in a fee from the cafeteria, in her case $1.25.

“I don’t feel that I should pay for a cafeteria lunch when I provide lunch for her from home,” the mother wrote in a complaint to her state representative, Republican G.L. Pridgen of Robeson County, reports the Journal.

“What got me so mad is, number one, don’t tell my kid I’m not packing her lunch box properly,” the girl’s mother told the Journal. “I pack her lunchbox according to what she eats. It always consists of a fruit. It never consists of a vegetable. She eats vegetables at home because I have to watch her because she doesn’t really care for vegetables.”

The Journal provides a copy of the state regulation:

“Sites must provide breakfast and/or snacks and lunch meeting USDA requirements during the regular school day. The partial/full cost of meals may be charged when families do not qualify for free/reduced price meals.

“When children bring their own food for meals and snacks to the center, if the food does not meet the specified nutritional requirements, the center must provide additional food necessary to meet those requirements.”

But what was so wrong with the lunch the mother provided? Nothing apparently. A spokesowman for the Division of Child Development explained that the mother’s meal should have been okay.

“With a turkey sandwich, that covers your protein, your grain, and if it had cheese on it, that’s the dairy,” Jani Kozlowski, the fiscal and statutory policy manager for the division, told the Journal. “It sounds like the lunch itself would’ve met all of the standard.”

It‘s unclear from reports who determined the lunch wasn’t healthy enough. The Carolina Journal refers to the person as a “state agent,” while the Atlanta Journal-Constitution calls the persona “state inspector” who was checking lunches that day. In an email to The Blaze, Caroline Journal reporter said the inspector was “an employee of the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services, Division of Child Development and Early Education.”

The school denied knowledge of the incident and said it’s looking into it.

“While I share concerns about childhood obesity, I still remain uncertain of the right role for schools,” writes the Journal-Constitution’s Maureen Downey. “This story clearly exemplifies the wrong role.”


No comments: