Day 19: It’s Not All Parkinson’s Fault




Here something most people without PD don’t realize…

The time for a cure is


not tomorrow, not next week, not in the future, but 

Leonardo daVinci said, 

“I have been impressed with the urgency of doing. 

Knowing is not enough; 

we must apply. 

Being willing is not enough; 

we must do.”

So I ask you…

Time could be running out…

Help to find a cure for Parkinson’s disease.



Nicotine Patches to Stop… Parkinson’s Disease? by MJF Foundation, FoxFeed Blog

Posted by Nate Herpich, January 18, 2013

Nicotine Patches to Stop… Parkinson’s Disease?

Across the board, physicians agree: There’s no doubt that smoking is bad for you. But is it possible that there’s just something about a cigarette habit that might lower a person’s risk of developing Parkinson’s disease (PD)? Epidemiological data (in which patterns in comparative populations are analyzed) has long supported the ideathat those who have spent years as smokers don’t get PD as often as non-smokers.

Of course, smoking a pack a day to maybe prevent the onset of PD hardly makes sense — the adverse effects of puffing on nicotine cigarettes certainly outweigh any potential benefits. Still, the data on smoking and PD is too intriguing to ignore: looking collectively across many studies, it’s estimated that current smokers are 60 percent less likely to get PD than those who have never smoked. Which begs the question: Could there be a drug for PD hidden somewhere within the rolling papers? Researchers believe that maybe there is, and the potential therapeutic agent that they’re intrigued by is nicotine.

This month, an exciting development toward learning more about nicotine and PD: A clinical trial sponsored by The Michael J. Fox Foundation (MJFF) is launching in the United States to explore the potential therapeutic benefits of those very same nicotine patches that people take to try and quit smoking.

NIC-PD will enroll 160 PD patients in Germany and the U.S., providing some volunteers with nicotine patches and others with placebo patches, in order to determine if the real ones might have the potential to slow the progression of PD. Eighty of these patients will be enrolled at 11 centers in the United States, saysCornelia Kamp, the project manager of the American arm of the study.

“The drug used in the trial is the same exact drug from Novartis that people have used to quit smoking for many years,” explains Kamp, which is good news in terms of clearing hurdles associated with the therapy’s safety. She is hopeful that her team could have high level results from NIC-PD by spring of 2015. A best case scenario: The results both show that disease progression is slowed, and are convincing enough to encourage a larger follow-up study which could prove to be more definitive.

Of course, there are hurdles. Most imminently, explains the U.S. study Principal Investigator James Boyd, MD, of the University of Vermont, nicotine gets a bad rap with the public because of its relationship with tobacco and addiction. In smoking, it’s the bevy of chemicals in a cigarette and the process of smoking that can cause cancers, not the nicotine itself. Still, helping prospective trial participants, and PD drug developers alike, to understand its benefits could prove to be a challenge, due to nicotine’s reputation.

The good news for people with Parkinson’s, says Boyd, is that pre-clinical studies have shown that nicotine could protect dopamine-producing neurons in the brain from dying. But we’ve yet to see this effect in people. NIC-PD will be the first clinical study to begin to get to the bottom of this disease-modifying potential.

And there’s still much to learn about possible biological connections between nicotine and PD. To date, most human-based data around nicotine and Parkinson’s has been purely epidemiological, says Maurizio Facheris, MD, MSc. This means that there might be other ways to describe the relationship between nicotine and PD that aren’t “brain chemically-based.”

Here’s one such example of how epidemiological data can return scientific twists and turns: A past studyfrom Matthew Menza, MD, found that people with PD tend to be less likely on the whole to be “novelty-seekers,” possibly because they have less dopamine in the brain (dopamine might inspire people to be more likely to seek out emotional stimuli). These individuals were also more likely to see smoking as a bad idea. On the other hand, the study found, “novelty-seekers” were more likely to take risks such as smoking, and they were also less likely to develop Parkinson’s. In short: Maybe those who are in the early stages of PD are just less likely to smoke because of how their brains are wired.

The good news is, NIC-PD is designed to begin to clear up some of these questions, and determine if it’s the addition of nicotine in the body that could really be making the difference. In addition, MJFF is funding additional pre-clinical work to learn more about the biological potential of nicotine in the brain.

And there was more intriguing news from last January, when research published in Neurology, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology, found that a nicotine patch may improve the memory loss common in mild cognitive impairment (MCI), a condition that is often a precursor to Alzheimer's disease.

The next few years could be telling as to whether nicotine might help to slow or prevent PD. Stay tuned for updates.

And, please, in the meantime, says Facheris, remember, it’s never a good idea to light up if you can help it. The potential good in nicotine is always outweighed by the toxins that enter into the body when smoking a cigarette. That’s the stuff that could produce cancers.

New Drug Approved for PD Patients with Orthostatic Hypotension

This recently in from:

Yesterday the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved the drug Northera — the brand name for droxidopa — to treat orthostatic hypotension in Parkinson’s patients.

Learn more about the FDA’s decision.

This approval after a lengthy review process is a true victory for people with Parkinson’s experiencing this common and debilitating symptom. Orthostatic hypotension is a sudden drop in blood pressure when standing, which can cause dizziness, falls and injury.

Since taking Northera can raise blood pressure when lying down, users are cautioned to sleep with their head and upper body elevated.



American Recall Center: A Great Resource

Recently, I was contacted by a gentleman who has been part of a start up benefitting patients regarding recalls involving medical equipment, drugs, treatments, etc. It should prove to be a great resource for anyone seeking more information (not just involving recalls) about the drugs they take or medical equipment they use or have had implanted. Take a look:

As the journey with Parkinson's continues, often the use of prescription medications and treatments grows. While these treatments are necessary to help maintain quality of life, there can sometimes be dangers and side effects that make one ponder if taking the prescription is worth it at all. At times, drug and medical device recalls can happen completely unbeknownst to the patient.

Doctors and medical centers have many patients making it extremely difficult to track these recalls and notify their patients in time. They also may not communicate with their patients, which lifestyle and diet changes they will need to make in order to use these drugs and devices safely and efficaciously.

The American Recall Center gives users all the information patients need to understand these matters without having to wait for their next appointment.

Wondering what hip replacement rehabilitation will entail and how long it will take before you are back to living fully? Curious about the potential side effects of a new prescription and how it might interact with other drugs you take? The American Recall Center will provide the answers to all these questions and more.

The site uses simple language that is easy for patients to understand. No matter how complex the information, the professionals at The American Recall Center are experts at communicating the information you need to keep on top of your health concerns.

Patient Safety Alerts, an exclusive feature of The American Recall Center, will send information about drugs and devices you have identified directly to your email Inbox.

All you need to do is choose which medical device groups and prescription drugs that affect you. When the U.S. Food and Drug Administration put out a safety update, you get an immediate notice via email.

By utilizing this free informational resource, you can become a smarter medical consumer and perhaps prevent a serious medical mishap. With this information, you will never be blindsided again by not receiving vital health information. All patients taking medications or using medical devices are recommended to check it out.


For Those In Need of A Laugh


First, dress appropriately when having your photo taken…
Don't mess with Grandma…
Next, don't get cheeky when taking a test at school…
Then, when going to school, leave your cell phone in your pocket…
(read the small print above the picture)
This is just… funny.
There's always the infamous funny newspaper headlines…
A few on teachers…
And, if you really want a laugh, go here:
Whatever you do…
make sure you live a little and laugh today!


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