Living with Parkinson’s Disease…

Parkinson’s disease affects about 1 million Americans. Doctors describe it as a neurodegenerative disease in which the brain neurons begin to die. However, advances are making progress in slowing down the progression of the disease. High Intensity Cardio exercise can slow the progression of the disease. Clinical trials in 2018 showed treadmill workouts 3 times a week along with strength and balance training slowed the rigidity caused by Parkinson’s. Personalized genetic testing has made it possible for physicians to target specific genes with medication. Microbial bacteria are also being considered since many patients have been found to have an overabundance of H. Pylori in the gut which can also be attributed to self-medication with over-the-counter probiotics. Biomarker detection is being studied as to the possible signs and markers of developing the disease. Although it is uncurable, these measures give hope that a patient’s life will not be totally devastated by the disease.

 

https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamaneurology/article-abstract/2664948

Venom as a Cure-all…

Natural toxins such as venom from spiders, snakes and scorpions hold the ability for the development of new drugs. Venomics is the study of the different proteins in venom which have led to separating different compounds and different drug discoveries. Previously it was believed that venom contained as little as 3 or 4 components, but now researchers have realized that they contain thousands. A drug from the deadly “Frazer Island Funnel Web Spider of Australia” can hinder cell death after a heart attack. Venom is a complex mix of proteins and can vary greatly in potency from jellyfish, insects, reptiles and even snails. Venom proteins have evolved to target a certain molecule in the body which is why they are so effective as a drug. Neurotoxins attack the nervous system, Hemotoxins attack the blood, and tissue toxins attack the area around the poisoned section. Venom from the Pit Viper is now used to treat High Blood Pressure. A drug derived from the venom of the Gila monster is used to treat diabetes. Ante coagulant drugs originated from vampire bats. Work is now being done in Israel with the Deathstalker scorpion to detect tumors. At the same time, because there are so many components to the makeup of venom, it is also difficult to find an antidote to a venomous bite. Opossums are responsible for the antidotes for bites from rattlesnakes since somehow, they can withstand being bitten several times and still survive. Just be careful who you decide to bring home as a pet.

 

https://www.bbcearth.com/news/how-venoms-are-shaping-medical-advances

Trauma and Weight Training…

For years Psychologists have recommended exercise for mental health. Now it seems mental health groups are recommending formalized weightlifting routines as a therapeutic tool for those who have experienced both physical and psychological trauma. Physical trainers are being educated on how to deal with this special category. Why is it that lifting heavy things helps people with trauma recover? Research is finding that the resistance of weight training has a connection to building resilience. There is now a certification for any practitioner who wishes to become a special trainer for clients dealing with trauma. Yet people who have experienced some sort of emotional trauma may avoid exercise because it may raise heart rate, breathing, and body temperature-all symptoms which they feel may bring on anxiety. A beneficial system of weight training will include periods of rest in which the person is allowed to check in with themselves to see how they are feeling so as not to be overwhelmed. This gives the nervous system a chance to settle down, so it can absorb more stress as the sessions continue. Hope is that these people will feel more comfortable in their body and have a stronger mind-body connection.

 

New hope for Sickle Cell Anemia…

Red blood cells are round, flexible and carry oxygen throughout our bodies. Children and adults with Sickle cell disease have red blood cells in the shape of a crescent moon. These cells become sticky and block blood flow which can in turn cause infection and organ damage. This is caused by a defect in the gene that tells the body to make the iron rich compound in red blood cells (hemoglobin). The disease affects mostly African Americans and Latino families. Complications can range from anemia to infections to vision problems. In the past the treatment involved hydroxyurea (cancer drug) with bad side effects or bone marrow transplants. The FDA has just approved 2 drugs Oxbryta and Adakveo. These drugs can prevent hemoglobin in RBC from sticking together and from forming crescent shapes. In a study of 274 participants ages 12 to 65 there was a 72 to 89% decrease in anemia caused by Sickle Cell Disease. What is interesting about having the disease is that those individuals are less susceptible to being infected with malaria. Their molecular machinery for cleaning dead cells also prevents the malarial parasite from infecting them.

 

https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/sickle-cell-anemia/symptoms-causes/syc-20355876

https://www.google.com/search?q=oxbryta+approval&rlz=1C5CHFA_enUS892US892&oq=Oxbryta&aqs=chrome.2.69i57j0i512l9.5942j0j15&sourceid=chrome&ie=UTF-8