DBS Basics: Dyskinesia

Dyskinesia is the writhing motion that most people associate with Parkinson’s. It is a side effect of the “gold standard” treatment for PD, which is a drug with the brand name Sinemet. Sinemet is basically dopamine, which is what our PD brains have stopped making.

The best example that you may have seen is Michael J. Fox, of course. When you see him interviewed, he’s moving around like a man possessed. That’s because he took his Sinemet and the levels (of the drug, and the stress of the interview) are too high. The alternative would be to see him in an “off” state, which in his case (and mine) means uncontrollable tremor, stiffness and rigidity, stooped posture and (for him) freezing — like a  statue, while walking or getting out of a chair.

Most people associate PD with dyskinesia, but that’s actually incorrect. PD is characterized by a lack of movement. I used to fluctuate between those two poles six times a day — the times when I had to take Sinemet. And that’s a different explainer altogether!

Pesticides and Parkinson’s

Paraquat — used extensively in marijuana-eradication efforts sponsored in South America by our government — is now tied to PD. Apparently the molecular structure of this substance is similar to that of MPTP, the synthetic opiate that caused catastrophic Parkinsonism  in the unlucky grad students who cooked it up.

Should we then be seeing an epidemic of cases among people who smoked pot in the 1970s and 80s? I’m still waiting for the epidemic of PD among cocaine abusers of that era. My prediction is that herbicides and pesticides will be among the environmental factors that can lead to PD.

I think PD is an inflammatory response to a virus or some other unrecognized pathogen. No evidence, just a hunch, based on recent reports of a viral vector for chronic fatigue syndrome and, possibly, Alzheimer’s

Read more: Pesticides Linked to Parkinson’s – US News and World Report

Virus Found in Many With Chronic Fatigue Syndrome – NYTimes.com

Cold sore virus might cause Alzheimer’s – New Scientist