Parkinson

Let There be Light, of the Proper Intensity

Hello friends, we interrupt our normal harrangues about exercise as a way of coping with some significant PD symptoms to bring you some exciting news! There is an intervention for Parkinson’s Disease under investigation which involves sitting down quietly for an hour. It is a form of light therapy for Parkinson’s Disease, now moving to stage three trials. This represents a totally new avenue to approach PD, one that doesn’t just give us yet another version of an existing  treatment.

The idea is to use exposure to light to better regulate our circadean rhythmns. What are circadian rhythms? According to the National institutes of health,

“Circadian rhythms are physical, mental, and behavioral changes that
follow a daily cycle. They respond primarily to light and darkness in an
organism’s environment. Sleeping at night and being awake during the
day is an example of a light-related circadian rhythm. Circadian rhythms
are found in most living things, including animals, plants, and many
tiny microbes. The study of circadian rhythms is called chronobiology.”

In a completely unsurprising development, these cycles are messed up by Parkinson’s Disease. The hope is that by using light to regulate the cyles to achieve a more normal flow, symptoms will be alleviated safely. There is evidence that this is what happened in a phase two trial of the light device.

One exciting development here is the device appeared to reduce non-motor symptoms. According to an article in Parkinson’s News Today, “Patients given light therapy showed
a significant reduction in non-motor symptoms (measured through Part 1
of the MDS-UPDRS), as well as a significant improvement in their quality
of life and a tendency to reduce daytime sleepiness.”

It makes sense to me that this would be a productive area for research. I noticed several years ago that the long hours of daylight of the Alaska Summer appeared to make me more sensitive to the levels of levedopa I was ingesting,  As the summer went by, I was experiencing signifcant increase in dyskinesia, and discovered that I could reduce my Sinemet dosage by roughly half, in fact I had to reduce it to get any drawing done.

One last thing, this is research that we can all volunteer to participate in, It will be conducted through telemedicine, which means you can participate from anywhere, even remote Alaska. You can find more info here.

 


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