Parkinson’s disease, multi system atrophy, MS, ALS, Alzheimer’s disease, inclusive body myositis and many brain and spinal injuries and a number of other nervous system disorders for the most part seem to have a very common feature. They all have large amount of a protein called alpha synuclein. After an injury to a neuron be it traumatic or disease caused there is an accumulation of synuclein at the nerve ending where the nerve signal is carried across a valley to the next nerve and the electrical signal is carried thru the body. However, with disease or injury the synuclein protein aggregates at the nerve ending. So, the correct nerve message cannot be sent and the aggregation causes the nerve to lose its myelin sheath which is the nerve insulator so it cannot conduct electricity down the nervous system properly. To be more specific synuclein interrupts the potassium channels through which the electrical signal travels so the message sent is very garbled.
60 years ago a chemical 4-Aminopyridine was discovered that effected the potassium channel in a cell. When used in MS it improved visual function, motor skills, relieved fatigue, and in half of the patients they could get out of needing a wheelchair. The patient that were wheelchair bound, 40% of them were able to walk. What I find amazing is that even though 4-Aminopyridine is an FDA approved drug for MS treatment it is not a part of the American Neurological Association protocol treatment for MS. 4-Aminopyridine rebuilds the myelin sheath, it corrects the potassium channel in a nerve. It improved the speed of the electrical signal down a nerve. Stops nerve degeneration, reduces nerve inflammation, and increases neuro regeneration.
In Parkinson’s disease treatment is based on trying to squeeze more dopamine out of the substantia nigra where most of the dopamine is made. The problem is that eventually there are no more dopamine producing cells in the brain. When the L-Dopa pills that you take to supply dopamine stop working there is not a whole lot to do. However, I think there is a number of things you can do. There are studies showing that by correcting the nerve impulse in the potassium channels in the brain the brain can make dopamine. Which is the problem in Parkinson’s disease.
A number of Parkinson’s patients on CT scans of the brain you will see Lewy bodies deep in the brain. These bodies are areas of high alpha synuclein protein which destroys brain tissue and causes dementia. Areas of the brain become a tangled mess. In some studies, 4-Aminopyridine can dissolve Lewy bodies. So, there is hope if you are going nowhere with your Parkinson’s, MS, or other neuro diseases or injuries. You may want to ask your doctor to look at ways he or she can actually try to heal the nervous system. You have nothing to lose. It may not be in the American Neurological Association protocol for suggested treatments but if you’re not getting better maybe you need to look outside the protocol.
There are many studies showing how important these potassium channels are in our body. I am involved in a study now with using 4-Aminopyridine on children with down syndrome. There are studies look at 4-Aminopyridine in resistant afib. Afib may be more of a potassium channel problem then we thought. Hope this brightens up your day and brings you some hope at the wonderful Christmas time!