Tag: Seattle Integrative Medicine

Jeannie’s PD journey

“Happiness resides not in possessions, and not in gold, happiness dwells in the soul.”

So wrote the philosopher Democritus who was born in 460 BCE (although some claim his year of birth was 490 BCE). He acquired fame with his knowledge of the natural phenomena that existed in those times and history writes that he preferred a contemplative life to an active life, spending much of his life in solitude. The fact that he lived to beyond 100 suggests his philosophy didn’t do him any harm.

OK! Before I continue, please let me state, as before, that I write to you purely as Jean’s husband. I have no medical skills or knowledge at all and if you are at all affected by any of the following make an appointment to see your own doctor!

The crux of this post is Jean’s relationship with a naturopathic doctor at a practice in Seattle. The practice is Seattle Integrative Medicine (SIM) and a number of the doctors at SIM specialise in patients with PD. That’s how Jean was connected with Dr. Laurie Mischley. (Dr. M)

When one goes to the web page for Dr. M one reads:

Clinical Specialties – Parkinson’s Disease (PD)/Parkinsonism

Dr M conducted tests including testing her ear wax*, extensive blood analysis and an analysis of a sample of Jean’s hair.

* Dr. M has a dog that can reliably smell the presence of PD in human ear wax!

The favourite drug for those with PD is Levadopa.  Within 48 hours of Jean taking Levadopa she had a serious allergic response to that drug.

Back to Dr. M’s tests. All three tests were non-indicative of PD. A while later, in a subsequent telephone conversation, Dr. M wondered if Jean really did have PD. She recommended a referral to the Oregon Health and Science University (OHSU) in Portland. Specifically to their Department of Neurology and to Dr. John Nutt. His background may be viewed here.  From which one notes:

John Nutt, M.D.

Co-founder and Director Emeritus of the OHSU Parkinson Center and Movement Disorders Program

Professor of NeurologySchool of Medicine
Expertise

Neurology

Special focus on
Parkinson’s and Movement Disorders

Jean’s appointment was at 08:30 on Tuesday, 9th July. In terms of the timeline of all of us, Jean was diagnosed as suspected of having PD in December, 2015.

Dr. Nutt saw us promptly at 8:30 and immediately revealed a listening, caring attitude. He also quietly admitted that he had been a doctor specialising in neurology and movement disorders for 39 years! There was no question in my mind that we had landed in front of the ideal physician under these circumstances.

Over the next hour, Dr. Nutt examined Jean in a great number of ways. From her stretching her arms out, Dr. Nutt examining Jean’s arm joints, watching Jean walk along the corridor outside his examining room, and much more.

Eventually he paused and looked us both in the eyes. He then spoke quietly: “Jean is displaying a number of classic symptoms of Parkinson’s disease. I have no doubt that Jean does have the disease.”

Of course it wasn’t long before I mentioned Laurie Mischley’s opinion that Jean might not have PD. But Dr. Nutt was very clear with his reply. Namely that PD cannot be determined from hair and blood tests alone and that the potential sufferer must be examined physically.

Dr. Nutt asked me if I had noticed that when Jean held her arms straight out in front of her at shoulder height the tremors in her right hand ceased yet when she was relaxed with her hands in her lap the tremor in her right hand was very noticeable? I had not spotted that.

“Paul, that is a classic Parkinson’s characteristic.”

Dr. Nutt went on to say that watching Jean walk gave him another indicator of PD. Because although Jean walks well she doesn’t swing her arms. Classic PD!

Without doubt, Dr. Nutt’s impression was Idiopathic Parkinson’s disease.

But Dr. Nutt also said that Jean was doing incredibly well taking into account that she would have been suffering from the disease for at least 4 to 5 years and that her commitment to lots of exercise including her RockSteady class, that he was aware of, and her vegetarian diet was critically valuable.

It was now time to turn to medication for Jean. Dr. Nutt said that of all the drugs Levadopa was the ideal to combat the loss of dopamine in the brain. He was puzzled as to why Jean had had such a strong allergic reaction to the drug. He wondered if it was a reaction to the Carbidopa that in the USA was so often a component of the Levadopa medication. If so, that could be worked around. Dr. Nutt even mused that he had known of a patient who was allergic to the yellow dye that is sometimes in that medication.

His medication plan for Jean was for her to start on a 1/2 tablet of carbidopa-levadopa 25-100 mg tablets just once a day and if she has no bad reaction in a week then up that to two 1/2 tablets a day. If no adverse effects then increase by 1/2 tablet every week until taking 1 tablet three time a day.

So here we are, a week and a day after we returned from OHSU and, touch wood, Jean has had no adverse effects and is now on two 1/2 tablets a day.

But a postscript to that consultation with Dr. Nutt. At the very end I said that I had two questions. Dr. Nutt welcomed me to ask them.

“My first question is to do with the trend for PD. Is it getting worse?”

“Paul, here in the USA we are seeing a slow but definite decline in the incidence of Parkinson’s. What was your second question?”

“Dr. Nutt, my next question was whether or not science was pointing a finger at the cause of Parkinson’s disease?”

He replied without hesitating: “We are seeing a strong correlation between pesticides and Parkinson’s disease.”

Upon hearing that, Jeannie immediately spoke up recalling her times out in the Mexican fields when the crop-spraying aircraft flew right overhead. Adding that she had at times been drenched by the spray.

But, please, let us not forget: Association is not causation!

That’s enough for today. Because I was going on to include information about the importance of exercise. About managing one’s life really well. About the importance of diet and overall health. In a sense, not just for PD sufferers but for anyone the wrong side of 60 years old!!

That will be coming along soon!

I will close by thanking everyone at OHSU. The quality of care, attentiveness and experience of the staff backed by world-class resources was second-to-none!

To be in their system, so to speak, is a privilege.

Food for Thought! A Fascinating Documentary!

Looking again into diet and nutrition.

While this post doesn’t specifically look at what we feed our dogs, there’s no question in my mind that good nutrition is just as important for our dogs as it is for ourselves.

Moving on!

You will know that quite a few of my recent posts have been on the back of me being made aware of how a strict diet plus taking many vitamins and supplements had had the effect of putting Colin Potter’s Parkinson’s Disease (PD) into remission.  All of which was summarised in an post last week called Food Truly Does Matter.

But then a good friend who lives locally, and has a solid medical background, spoke to me and said what you are writing can’t possibly be correct because if diet and supplements really did put PD patients into remission then “everyone would be doing it“. It was difficult to argue that.

So I thought the best people to call would be the American Parkinson Disease Association. I was put through to the director of the North-West Chapter of the APDA, located in Seattle, WA., and she agreed that there was no magic bullet in terms of diet and PD remission.

But the director went on to say that diet and lifestyle were nonetheless incredibly important and that there was no question that the correct decisions in terms of lifestyle were vital for anyone with PD; whatever the stage of the disease .

Dr. Laurie Mischley

The director also went on to say that without a doubt we should make contact with Seattle Integrative Medicine also, as the title suggests, in Seattle.

In particular, make contact with Dr. Laurie Mischley for the director said that Dr. Mischley’s clinical speciality is Parkinson’s Disease.

Plus we were advised to watch a talk that Dr. Mischley gave in British Columbia towards the end of 2016.

The talk is 49 minutes long and should be watched by everyone!

Reason?

Because in the talk there is much evidence, as in factual evidence, that shows the link between our lifestyle choices and what helps or hinders those with PD.

But even more critical to my way of thinking is that the evidence presented in the talk offers solid reasons why all of us as we approach middle-age and beyond should be careful about what we eat.

Food for Thought: Diet & Nutrition in PD – Dr. Laurie Mischley, ND, PhD, MPH from Parkinson Society BC on Vimeo.

This is a recorded presentation from Parkinson Society British Columbia’s Victoria Regional Conference featuring Laurie Mischley. Dr. Mischley studied naturopathic medicine (ND) at Bastyr University and epidemiology (MPH) and nutritional sciences (PhD) at the University of Washington. Her work is focused on identifying the nutritional requirements unique to individuals with neurodegenerative diseases. She has published articles on coenzyme Q10, lithium and glutathione deficiency in Parkinson’s disease (PD). Dr. Mischley maintains a small clinical practice at Seattle Integrative Medicine focused on nutrition and neurological health.

So, my dear reader, here is a little plea from Paul.

Whether or not you have PD, watch the talk and have all the people you love and care for watch it as well.

Oh, and give your dog a cuddle from Jean and me!


Please understand that I do not offer advice and nothing on any website, including the blog site Learning from Dogs, email or any other communication is intended to treat, diagnose, prevent or cure any disease. It is not a substitute for consulting your doctor. You should consult a doctor for diagnosis of conditions, before beginning any diet, exercise or supplementation or if you suspect you have any healh issue. You should not stop medication without consulting your doctor.