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Parkinson’s disease is considered, in conservative medical circles, to be a disease of dopamine deficiency.

To date, there has been little progress in explaining why we become deficient in dopamine. This seems to be mainly because, in my opinion, medical scientists and researchers are looking for the wrong thing in the wrong place.

One doctor has theorised that Parkinson’s is actually a disease of dopamine EXCESS inside neurons ("What if I discovered the Silver Bullet?" by Dr. Jonathan Sackner-Bernstein -, while independent research in Australia has revealed that Parkinson’s symptoms may involve over 40 neurotransmitters including dopamine, anandamide, serotonin and many broadcast neurotransmitters functioning through the glial cells (Rethinking Parkinson’s Disease; John C Coleman ND, 2020).

More realistically, we can consider Parkinson’s disease as a cluster of symptoms indicating a state of neurodegeneration and/or inflammation that is system wide. We can see, through a wide range of medical literature, that many symptom clusters identified as separate diseases are also simply different expressions of neurodegeneration and inflammation.

The vast majority of disease research funding is spent on identifying, and attempting to suppress the immediate triggers of symptom expression – that is nerve, cell or organelle changes that create symptoms. Almost nothing is dedicated to investigating events, circumstances or impacts that may trigger metabolic pathways resulting, after many steps and extended periods, in the expression of symptoms that may conveniently be identified as a specific “disease” that is chronic progressive and irreversible.

The reasons for this neglect of obvious areas for research may seem complex but, if we consider research funding and outcome benefits dispassionately, one could assume that the priority driver of specific-disease research is profit.

This conclusion may seem cynical, but an examination of research funding, distribution and outcome benefits indicates that the aim of most research is to develop “a new treatment” (drug, surgery or device) and that the approval of even a relatively ineffective treatment can result in many billions of dollars profit for the developer, compensation for the research costs many times over.

On the other hand, the tiny amount of research into originating causes of neurodegeneration and inflammation, almost always privately funded, and aimed at patient empowerment and reversal of the illness process, primarily benefits patients or potential patients with little or no benefit to researchers.

In my own experience, research conducted to find or clarify originating causes, or strategies to prevent or reverse causes, resulted in costs for me but benefits to patients and potential patients, in contrast to interim-symptom research funded by commercial enterprise seeking profits, often supported by donors seeking patient benefits, and sometimes government seeking “health benefits” which may bring some symptom mitigation for patients (which is good), but huge profits for commerce only.

The program for a global conference on Parkinson's conducted online over three days beginning on World Parkinson’s Day, shows a wide range of presenters, all brilliant in their field, canvassing interesting topics pertaining to disease progression, gut changes and symptom management. However, during these three days, there is only one speaker considering originating causes (environmental toxins) and none offering strategies to reverse causes or any hope of recovery. Any treatments discussed, other than exercise, will involve costs and profits.

I have recently read details of Parkinson’s research in Australia being conducted by a conglomerate of medical research facilities and commercial interests. They are devoting $30 million to investigating the possibility of repurposing older drugs to assist in mitigating some symptoms.

While this may seem to be an admirable aim, it is possible to think that the real aim of the exercise is to create further profit from drugs that are losing market, without offering any real insight into originating causes or hope of recovery.

Think of what we could achieve if we spent only 10% of that money on researching recovery strategies currently being used by people around the world. How many people diagnosed with Parkinson’s could we help with $3 million wisely spent without a profit motive?

Even 1% of this money, spent wisely, could bring greater clarity to our knowledge of originating causes. $30,000 can finance non-mineral toxin screens for 150 people diagnosed with Parkinson’s plus 150 matched controls, and will help us understand more about environmental toxins creating or exacerbating neurodegeneration.

Another 1%/$30,000 could pay for Hair Tissue Mineral Analyses for 300 people with Parkinson’s and 300 matched controls to show us patterns of nutritional mineral imbalances and the frequency of toxic minerals like arsenic, aluminium, lead, mercury and tin.

With this sort of knowledge, we can develop gentle, thorough detox strategies (a lot of them self-help) to remove those toxins and create campaigns to eliminate these toxins from our environment.

Surely this is better value for $60,000 than repurposing old drugs to mitigate some symptoms for $30 million.

How can we change this research aim of short-term profit?

How can we move the emphasis of research to originating causes?

How can we generate cooperation between disease-specific support organisations when the bulk of organisation funding is predicated on a belief that each “disease” has a unique immediate cause and we have to find a “cure”?

There is ample evidence showing us that disorders like Parkinson’s disease commence many years, often decades, before manifesting symptoms. We have known for hundreds of years that our food intake and gut health is intimately linked to our general health and our nerve health. Most recently, even western medicine is now recognising the intimate link between gut health and neurological health. We have known for decades that many chemicals commonly used in industry, agriculture and home care are neurotoxic and inflammatory. However, organisations that are disease-specific try to find individual chemicals that cause individual sets of symptoms. This is both wasteful and inefficient. We know that many of these chemicals cause neurodegeneration, therefore symptom expression of the effects of these chemicals may be diagnosed as one of any number of neurodegenerative disorders.

Billions of dollars have been spent on Parkinson’s research with the aim of finding a drug or treatment to block a particular chemical, or boost a metabolic pathway for this specific disease. And yet, we have known for so many decades that many foods cause neurodegeneration, that many chemicals cause neurodegeneration and some infections cause neurodegeneration. If we focused one tenth of the Parkinson’s research budget on investigating these originating causes, then we would, by now, be developing reversal strategies that are not harmful to patients but give them the real possibility of recovering perfect health.

April the 11th is World Parkinson’s Day and April is Parkinson’s Awareness Month. My vision for this month in 2023 is that we will see changes that will benefit the millions of people diagnosed with neurodegenerative disorders.

I want to see:

· Cooperation and conversation between all organisations supporting those diagnosed with any neurodegenerative disorders.

· Legislation in all advanced countries to compel a minimum percentage of research funding to be focused on originating causes without necessarily profit accruing to the researchers, and a significant proportion of government research funding dedicated to originating causes.

· Respectful conversation between dedicated Western Allopathic Medicine (WAM) professionals and those working in Complementary/Alternative Medicine (CAM) to share knowledge and information for the benefit of patients.

· Dramatic revision and improvements in training in both WAM and CAM universities and colleges to include current and future knowledge of the originating causes of neurodegenerative disorders.

· Widespread public education about what everybody can do to lessen their risk of neurodegenerative disorders.

How can we reduce our risk?

· Avoid inflammatory and destructive foods like sugar, grains, animal dairy products, additives and, especially, artificial sweeteners.

· Work with governments, industry and agriculture to significantly reduce the use of neurodegenerative chemicals.

· Work with government, WAM and CAM practitioners and researchers to develop better diagnosis and treatments of stealth infections that create neurodegenerative processes.

· Continue to encourage physical activity and social interaction.

With dedication and minimal funding, we can help many to recover and vastly reduce the encroaching pandemic of neurodegenerative disorders.

John C Coleman ND, April 2023

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