What is Parkinson’s Disease?
Parkinson’s disease is a neurodegenerative disorder that affects predominantly dopamine-producing neurons. Essentially, the neurons, or brain cells, that produce dopamine in the brain begin to die and the brain begins to slow down its processing speed simultaneously. In this way, Parkinson’s Disease is a progressive disorder that gets worse over time as the cells continue to deteriorate and the brain continues to slow. Parkinson’s Disease is a movement disorder but can also impact cognitive thinking skills.
Does Stress Affect Parkinson’s Disease?
Yes, a large-scale prospective study of personality traits associated with Parkinson’s Disease found two primary traits that were associated with a higher likelihood of Parkinson’s Disease: neuroticism and introversion. People who are neurotic are a higher likelihood of being moody, have more anxiety, worry, fear, anger, frustration, envy, jealousy, guilt, depressed mood, and loneliness. Stress and neuroticism can be identified in the chronic use of a fast speed brain pattern using qEEG Brain Mapping. Once identified, the stress pattern can be optimized. With a better brain pattern comes a healthier, more balanced nervous system that can perform better.
What are the Symptoms of Parkinson’s Disease?
Parkinson’s disease symptoms and signs may vary from person to person. Early signs may be mild and may go unnoticed. Symptoms usually begin on one side of the body and usually remain worse on that side, even after symptoms begin to affect both sides. Parkinson’s signs and symptoms may include:
Tremor. Shaking, usually of a limb, often the hand or fingers, is the signature symptom of Parkinson’s Disease. A back-and-forth rubbing of the thumb and forefinger, known as a pill-rolling tremor, might become noticeable. One notable feature of Parkinson’s disease is a tremor of your hand when it is relaxed, at rest.
Slowed movement (Bradykinesia). As brain functioning declines, reduced ability to move and slowed movement takes place making simple tasks difficult and time-consuming. A person’s steps may become shorter and getting out of a chair can become difficult. Sometimes, it is difficult for a person to keep moving or to turn corners.
Muscle Rigidity. Muscle stiffness may occur in any part of your body. Stiff muscles can limit range of motion and cause you pain.
Posture and Balance Problems. Posture often becomes stooped. Maintaining balance can become difficult as the brain functioning continues to be impacted.
Automatic Movement Loss. Decreased ability to perform unconscious movements, including blinking, smiling or swinging your arms when you walk can happen as Parkinson’s Disease progresses.
Speech Problems. Speech and communication abilities are often the first symptoms to be noticed as the speech and language areas of the brain are initially impacted by slow processing speed. Soft, quick, or slurred speech happens and hesitation before talking can make conversation cumbersome. Pitch and inflection are reduced and a monotone voice may become the norm.
Writing Problems. As the sensorimotor cortex of the brain is impacted it may become hard to write and writing may appear small.
How Can You Reduce Parkinson’s Disease Symptoms?
Although there is no cure for Parkinson’s Disease it is known that it is caused and made worse by 2 factors (1) an EEG brain functioning of slow processing, one similar to Alzheimer’s Disease, and (2) the brain pattern associated with Stress and constant thinking, or neuroticism, can make Parkinson’s symptoms worse.
When these three brain patterns are addressed together, symptoms can reduce and be resolved much more quickly than if they are not. At Leigh Brain & Spine, the doctors identify the disruptive neurological patterns using qEEG Brain Mapping and then regulate those patterns toward optimal functioning using Neurofeedback Therapy.
How is Parkinson’s Disease Diagnosed?
There is no specific test to diagnose Parkinson’s Disease. Your doctor will diagnose Parkinson’s disease based on your medical history, a review of your signs and symptoms, and a neurological and physical examination. Many times a comprehensive exam will include bloodwork and other test to rule out other health conditions. Imaging tests, such as MRI, may be performed but are generally not conclusive toward a diagnosis.
qEEG Brain Mapping has been used to successfully identify the neurological patterns of brain functioning that are associated with the onset of Parkinson’s Disease and can help to inform treatment. Most times, it takes time to conclusively diagnose Parkinson’s Disease under the care of a neurologist and movement specialist to evaluate symptoms and the state of your condition as it progressively develops.
What’s the Most Effective Treatment for Parkinson’s Disease?
Since Parkinson’s Disease does not have a known cure, there is no one treatment that has been proven to work best for all people. A qEEG Brain Map would show you if you have the brain pattern that is associated with Parkinson’s Disease and if the pattern of Stress might be making symptoms worse as well.
Neurofeedback Therapy can then change the brain pattern toward a more optimal one proven to be symptom-free. When the brain is using a better neurological pattern, the flow of information from the brain to the body through the spinal nerves, is improved and symptoms can be reduced. Science has shown that Neurofeedback improves functioning of the brain in the motor control areas and symptoms improve as the brain’s performance improves. Read the study HERE.
Food Sensitivity Testing and Gut Repair can have powerful anti-inflammatory effects and can reduce the swelling to help the brain and nerves function better. Also, physiological therapies can help to stimulate the nerves, preventing long-term symptoms to persist. This is a comprehensive neurological approach proven to have maximal impact on improving symptoms for those who suffer with Parkinson’s Disease.
How Can Brain-based Therapies Help Parkinson’s Disease?
Parkinson’s Disease is known to be associated with an identifiable brain functioning pattern that is at the heart of the symptoms that a person suffers from. The brain pattern is one of too much premature slowing of processing speed. The brain is designed to use a specific, perfectly fast, processing speed to process information without any symptoms. When that pattern slows down too much, too soon, problems arise.
In the case of Parkinson’s Disease slowing in the motor control areas creates motor movement problems, while those in the areas of the brain that control thinking and memory cause cognitive deficits.
Brain-based therapies are designed to improve the dysregulated, underlying neurological pattern that is creating and perpetuating the symptoms of Parkinson’s Disease. Neurofeedback, the premier brain-based therapy of our time, has been shown to improve the slowing in the different areas of the brain for improved symptoms. What this means is that when Neurofeedback Therapy is used to speed up processing in the motor areas of the brain, movement becomes easier and more fluid. When cognitive areas work better, thinking, focus, memory, and interpersonal communication improve. When the neurological brain pattern is improved, the symptoms improve.
What’s the Best Test to Identify Parkinson’s Disease?
New scientific findings show that Parkinson’s is easier to identify the precursors by doctors now that they are using qEEG Brain Mapping (Quantitative Electroencephalogram) to look at the brain’s functioning. People who exhibit early signs of Parkinson’s and have a qEEG Brain Map have better prognosis for improving the underlying neurological pattern. This test shows how the brain is functioning and is what is need to improve the processing speed in the areas that are specifically affected. Interestingly, Scientific studies have shown the brain pattern associated with Parkinson’s Disease to be evident even when the person is at rest. This finding gives credence to the fact that the tremors people often experience due to Parkinson’s happen even when they are at rest.
An optimal brain pattern has been known for quite some time. If a person is using this optimal brain functioning pattern, then he or she will not display any symptoms of a physical or cognitive issue. If the early and progressive slowing is identified, symptoms will arise. The areas that house the dopamine reward center pathways, are most highly implicated in Parkinson’s. These areas include the frontal lobe and temporal lobes. Abnormal qEEG findings have been found in Parkinson’s, even for those people whose symptoms are just beginning to show. This makes qEEG an advanced technique to identify the underlying neurological pattern associated with Parkinson’s. In this way advances in neuroscience and technology are making it easier to identify and treat this disorder.
What Should I Do If A Loved One Has Parkinson’s Disease?
First visit your primary care physician. He or she will rule out all other causes for the pain, fatigue and cognitive difficulties. Your doctor will make sure you are not suffering from a more serious health condition. If you would like to facilitate recovery of motor and cognitive functioning and address the underlying brain pattern associated with your symptoms, call the professionals at Leigh Brain & Spine. The doctors can perform a comprehensive neurological assessment to evaluate your brain function to determine if you are a strong candidate for brain-based therapies.
Leigh Brain and Spine is proud to have earned the distinction as a Certified Brain Health Coach Center and is a proud member of the Amen Clinics referral network.