By David Ponsonby, Contributing Author, who's Father had Parkinson's Disease*
It's sometimes refreshing if you live near an old library to review issues of medical journals from 50+ years ago. Apart from the recommendations for certain brands of cigarettes but against nutritional supplements, you may notice a stark difference in the research. With the NEJM originating as the Boston Journal, you can go back over a century. Three things stand out, to me. Firstly, the articles are much more brief and often a single case report. Second, they are authored by a single practicing physician, drawn from his own experience and practice. Third, the format is quite simple and straightforward, much like a letter one might send to a colleague. Rather than the modern day where one frequently sees an entire faculty of authors, accessing a computerized databank of statistics and references, producing gobbledygook.
Nowadays, some of the PhDs and presenters don't even take the time to learn the nomenclature and techniques used by the co-authors who actually interface with the patients. They just deal with the numbers. Medicine becomes so much simpler when it's been de-personalized. The Dr. abdicates his responsibility by simply purveying what his specialty has dictated; the patient becomes his diagnostic label... PD in our case.
Yet, most of us discover that the magic Pills may not work for everyone, or it may not last very long... Or it may not be idiopathic PD like the standard diagnosis... it can be a sub-type, or something similar but different, usually more potent. More pills are usually provided (purveyed?) which may restore the magic but only for brief moments in time, or NOT at all.
Curiously, the meds are a proven success (?) but the patient FAILS to benefit??? Even then pharmacology may not be entirely abandoned. Instead of failed drug protocols, the patient gains additional labels: "non-responder", "poor metabolizer"... For some patients, the switch may be made to DBS, or more invasive surgeries (e.g. pallidotomy). Back to the surgical world that almost shrunk into oblivion when L-dopa was innovated. Isn't it curious that the symptoms of PD can be suppressed without altering the chemistry? Yet the large foundations still mostly spends their (our) money on searching for the next chemical formula? [An exception may be its support of the recent ultrasound variation, pioneered in Israel].
While the standard definition remains a deficiency of dopamine and dopaminergic cells, other processes are, obviously, involved.
*David's Dad had Parkinson's in the 1990's before he died of cancer. David has done considerable independent research and searched the world for a non-drug based solution.