Idiopathic Parkinson’s Disease (IPD) is a progressive neurological disorder characterized by selective degeneration of dopaminergic neurons in a part of the brain called the substantia nigra. These dopaminergic neurons provide dopamine to the movement control centers of the brain, such as the striatum.
Symptoms of IPD may include tremor, bradykinesia, gait and balance problems, rigidity, and autonomic dysfunction.
Clinical symptoms often do not occur until at least 60 percent of substantia nigra neurons are lost (Fearnley et al., ‘91). While IPD may be the most common form of parkinsonism, it shares, in part, symptoms with other diseases, such as progressive supranuclear palsy, multiple system atrophy, vascular parkinsonism, and dementia with Lewy bodies.
Given the multifarious presentation of IPD, differentiating among these diseases early in the course of illness can be challenging.
Moreover, correct diagnosis is critical, as each disease process has a different pathology, different progression, and different response to medication. At Neuro-Luminance, we use neuroimaging to differentiate between the multiple Parkinsonian diseases.
Groundbreaking treatment for Parkinson’s
Most current treatment options for IPD, such as dopamine replacement pharmaceuticals and surgical intervention are essentially palliative and do not address the underlying pathology of the disease. However, recent developments show that IPD may be caused by an infection that spreads from the gut to the brain and this supports an entirely new treatment option.
At Neuro-Luminance Brain Health Centers, we treat potential underlying viruses in IPD, giving patients life-altering clarity, hope, and healing.
For example, one patient with severe tremor and signs of IPD, presented evidence more consistent with infection on her SPECT brain scan; labs confirmed a viral infection.
SPECT scan of patient demonstrating diffuse decreased cortex perfusion prior to treatment with significant improvement after antiviral therapy. Yellow indicates normal perfusion and red indicates increased perfusion. Areas of green indicate decreased perfusion. Handwriting examples before and after treatment are shown.
Near-Infrared Laser Therapy for IPD
Numerous research teams, including our own at Neuro-Luminance, have studied the application of Near-Infrared Light Therapy (NILT) to mitigate the neurodegenerative processes in patients with IPD.
NILT appear to be absorbed readily by the mitochondria of neurons, including those in the substantia nigra. In addition to increasing Adenosine Triphosphate (ATP) production, Near-Infrared Light (NIR) can modulate reactive oxygen species, activate mitochondrial DNA replication, increase early-response genes, increase growth factor expression, induce synaptogenesis, and stimulate cell proliferation (Henderson and Morries 2015). In summary, NILT promotes symptom improvement and a reduction in disease activity.
SPECT scan of patient demonstrating decreased parietal cortex perfusion prior to treatment and significant improvement after NILT. Yellow indicates normal perfusion and red indicates increased perfusion. Areas of green indicate decreased perfusion. This patient has been able to reduce Parkinson’s medication doses following NILT.
At Neuro-Luminance, we marry data from our ongoing research with Multi-Watt Infrared Laser technology to successfully penetrate skin and the skull to reach the deep structures (such as the substantia nigra) and successfully treat patients with IPD. Contact us today to schedule your free consultation.