Parkinson’s Disease and PEMF
BY JONATHAN BOWEN
Parkinson's patient suffer from physical disabilities, but eventually dimentia may result.
The Mechanics of Parkinson’s
Parkinson’s disease, is a degenerative disorder of the central nervous system. Initially, it is identified by slow movement, difficulty walking or moving, a pronounced gait, shaking, and rigidity in the limbs. As the disease develops cognitive (thinking) problems can occur, along with behavioral problems, emotional problems, sleep and sensory issues can also arise. Advanced stages can bring dementia.
The brain usually inhibits the motor system, controlling it from activating when it isn’t needed. When a decision is made to perform a function, inhibiting controls are decreased through release of dopamine, allowing activity to take place.
In Parkinson’s sufferers, motor problems result from the death of dopamine-generating cells in an area of the brain called the substantia nigra (found in the mid brain). The cause of this cell death is still unknown. However, there is some link to a genetic origin and a strong link to pesticide use.
Parkinson’s sufferers tend to have an abnormal build up of the alpha-synuclein protein at the tips of nerve cells in neuronal inclusion bodies called Lewy bodies. It is believed this build up causes dopamine transmitters to malfunction and consequently not receive the dopamine.
Usually sufferers of Parkinson’s will first notice a loss or reduction in the ability to move (hypokinesia). However, once Parkinson’s is treated with drugs, an excessive amount of dopamine can be released causing involuntary muscle movement (dyskinesisas).
Treatment for Parkinson’s is largely aimed at managing the abnormal motor symptoms by stimulating the dopamine receptors with drugs such as L-DOPA and other dopamine agonists.
Serious side effects for pharmacological treatment include euphoria, an abnormal accumulation of fluid around the heart (pericardial effusion), fibrous thickening of lining that covers some of the internal organs including the heart or the lungs (fibrotic reaction), hallucinations, psychosis, head rush (orthostatic hypotension), weight loss, anorexia, nausea and vomiting, insomnia, unusual tiredness or weakness, dizziness, drowsiness, sleep attacks (Narcolepsy), lightheadedness, twitching, twisting, or other unusual body movements, fainting (syncope), numbness or coldness in fingers and toes (Raynaud’s phenomenon), and certain pathological addictions (gambling, shopping, internet pornography, hyper-sexuality).
Even with all these serious side effects, over time as the disease progresses and the neurons degenerate more, the drugs eventually become ineffective and produce involuntary writhing movements called dyskinesia.
Dr. Norman Doidge, MD writes about the ability of the brain to heal itself through a process called neuroplasticity
Scientists compared the human brain to a huge supercomputer with
For many years scientists have likened the human brain to a huge supercomputer, a physiologically static organ with hard-wired circuits. It was believed that sections of the brain were responsible for certain “processes” and if they were damaged these processes were permanently affected. For many years patients were treated this way. Dr. Norman Doidge in his book “The Brain that Changes Itself” writes the following:
“The scientific mind-set at the time assumed that the brain’s structure is fixed, and that our senses, the avenues by which experience gets into our minds are hardwired. This idea, which still has many adherents, is called “localizationism.” It’s closely related to the idea that the brain is like a complex machine, made up of parts, each of which performs a special mental function and exists in a genetically predetermined or hardwired location — hence the name. A brain that is hardwired, and in which each mental function has a strict location, leaves no room for plasticity… if one of those parts was damaged, nothing could be done to replace it; after all, machines don’t grow new parts.” (Doidge, Norman MD (2007). The Brain That Changes Itself: Stories of Personal Triumph from the frontiers of brain science. p13-14)
However, studies into development of the brain have uncovered the ability of the brain to rewire itself, termed neuroplasticity. The brain can remap itself after injury, even in adults.
Research has discovered brain activity for a given function can move to a different locating of the brain following injury:
“If you are driving from here to Milwaukee and the main bridge goes out, first you are paralyzed. Then you take old secondary roads through the farmland. Then you use these roads more; you find shorter paths to use to get where you want to go, and you start to get there faster. These “secondary” neural pathways are “unmasked” or exposed and strengthened as they are used. The “unmasking” process is generally thought to be one of the principal ways in which the plastic brain reorganizes itself.” (Doidge, Norman MD (2007). The Brain That Changes Itself: Stories of Personal Triumph from the frontiers of brain science. p9)
Dr. Doidge writes about Dr Merzenich’s theories on neuroplasticity:
“Merzenich’s new theory was that neurons in brain maps develop strong connections tone another when they are activated at the same moment in time. And if maps could change, thought Merzenich, then there was reason to hope that people born with problems in brain map-processing areas — people with learning problems, psychological problems, strokes, or brain injuries — might be able to form new maps if he could help them form new neuronal connections, by getting their healthy neurons to fire together and wire together.” (Doidge, Norman MD (2007). The Brain That Changes Itself: Stories of Personal Triumph from the frontiers of brain science. p63)
Dr Merzenich author of theory on brain maps.
In his second book “The Brain’s Way of Healing,” documents cases of patients who have taught their brains to deal with the damage restoring normal function to their lives through training and utilizing the brain’s neuroplasticity, or its ability to re-wire itself. This is true of degenerative diseases as well as sports injuries.
PEMF and Parkinson’s
Neurons are electrically excitable cells that process and transmit information through electrical and chemical signals. Neurons connect to form neural networks. For example, sensory neurons respond to touch, sound, light, and all other stimuli affecting the cells of the sensory organs send signals to the spinal cord and brain. Motor neurons receive signals from the brain and spinal cord and cause muscle contractions and affect glandular outputs. Inter-neurons connect neurons to other neurons within the same region of the brain or spinal cord in neural networks.
All neurons are electrically excitable, maintaining voltage gradients across their membranes utilizing metabolically driven ion pumps. Changes in the cross-membrane voltage can alter the function of voltage-dependent ion channels. If the voltage changes by a large enough amount, an all-or-nothing electrochemical pulse called an action potential is generated. This travels rapidly along the cell’s axon and activates synaptic connections with other cells when it arrives.
Parkinson’s disease is a form of damage to the neurons and neural receptors. PEMF assists neurological disorders such as Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s because it stimulates neurons and causes brain cells to return to normal functioning frequencies.
In September 2003, Thomas Goodwin, PhD of NASA, who investigated the effect of electromagnetic fields on neuronal cells, published an experimental study. Neuronal cells are responsible for transmitting electrical signals throughout the body. For example, if you want to open your hand, the brain sends electrical command signals to the muscles responsible for opening the hand. These electrical signals reach these muscles, and if there is no damage to the neuronal cells from the brain towards these muscles, the hand will open. However, if there is damage due to an accident or surgery, the body will repair the damage and regenerate the neuronal cells over time. The purpose of the NASA study was to determine if it was possible to stimulate the regeneration or regrowth of neural tissue with electromagnetic fields to improve electrical conductivity between the neuronal cells. The study concluded electromagnetic field stimulation improved regrowth by 250% to 400%.
Other studies have found that PEMF can have a positive effect on Parkinson’s disease:
“Recent advances in magnetotherapy suggest that carefully selected magnetic fields might be helpful in the treatment of diseases such as Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s….” (Marko S. Markov, Pulsed electromagnetic field therapy history, state of the art and future, Spring Science and Business Media, 2007).
“Noting that transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) is a new and noninvasive method of direct cortical neuron stimulation, this review article discusses recent studies showing that TMS has led to improvements in symptoms associated with Parkinson’s disease and depression.” (M.S. George et al., “Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation: A Neuropsychiatric Tool for the 21st Century,” Journal of Neuropsychiatry Clin Neurosci, 8(4), Fall 1996, p. 373-382.)
“In clinical studies, high therapeutic efficacy of magnetotherapy and magneto stimulation in the treatment of osteoarthrosis, abnormal ossification, osteoporosis, nasosinusitis, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease, spastic paresis, diabetic polyneuropathy and retinopathy, vegetative neurosis, peptic ulcers, colon irritable and trophic ulcers was confirmed. (Sieron A. Katedra i Klinika Chorob Wewnetrznych, Angiologii i Medycyny Fizykalnej SAM, ul. Batorego 15, 41-902 Bytom. Application of variable mag