Medication For Parkinson’s Disease: The Pros And Cons

Medication For Parkinson’s Disease: The Pros And Cons
Around one in 500 New Zealanders are affected by this complicated neurodegenerative disease.

Most people are aware that dopamine is a chemical of the brain that affects our mood, but you may be unaware of dopamine’s relationship with PD. Essentially, the cells responsible for the production of dopamine decrease in people with PD and therefore the production of the feel-good chemical is reduced, which results in an extensive assortment of unpleasant symptoms.

The main way Parkinson’s disease (PD) is managed is through medication that either replaces the dopamine in the brain or helps to prevent a decrease of it. “The problem with medication is, it starts off all okay,” says renowned fitness trainer and speaker Steve Schiemer. “But after long-term use the side effects of the medication are almost as bad as the disease itself. The medication becomes more of a harm than a help.”

“What you find is that most people with Parkinson’s are on lots of medication,” says Deirdre O’Sullivan, CEO of Parkinson’s NZ. “You take these basic medications to help manage the symptoms, but then you take inhibitors to help your medication last longer, and then you take something else to help with side effects.”

However, patients with Parkinson’s might soon have new treatment options thanks to new University of Auckland research looking into how the disease spreads through the brain.

Published on February 24 in Scientific Reports – Nature, the study revealed that pathological proteins known as Lewy bodies in Parkinson’s disease could be spread from cell to cell.

“For many years we’ve been talking about finding a cause, cure or prevention of Parkinson’s and this is something that would really help us take a big step towards that goal,” says O’Sullivan.

Read more on this topic in the November issue of MiNDFOOD, available instores from Monday 2nd October.

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