Well, it looks like researchers have finally cracked the Parkinson’s/autoimmune puzzle. For years, it’s been suspected that there was an autoimmune component. Now, finally, it’s confirmed.
Says Dr. David Sulzer at Columbia University, one of the lead researchers on the study[i] just published in Nature, “Our findings show that two fragments of alpha-synuclein, a protein that accumulates in the brain cells of people with Parkinson’s, can activate the T cells involved in autoimmune attacks.”
This study found that “T cells can be tricked into thinking dopamine neurons are foreign by the buildup of damaged alpha-synuclein proteins.”
Remember that just a week ago or so, research[ii] came out of Duke University showing that the damaged alpha-synuclein protein found in both Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s, seems to originate in the endocrine cells of the gut. Scientists were amazed to find that the gut endocrine system establish connection with nerves. “…the endocrine cells – which are not nerves…are able to communicate directly with the nervous system and brain.”
The question then becomes, of course, will treating Parkinson’s with anti-inflammatory pharmaceuticals and/or natural treatments make a difference? Can the deterioration be halted or even reversed?
In other news, I probably will miss a week of posting on my blog as I’m leaving for the UK on Sunday night. On Tuesday I may be filmed by a major network news team (ugh! nerves!) and on Wednesday, I’ll be spending the afternoon with a reporter from The New Scientist talking helminths. I’ll also be attending a big, international conference on naturopathic medicine. I will write all about my adventures when I get back!