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Researchers at the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute for Medical Research (WEHI) have been able to show the function of protein, PINK1, in “live action” and great detail.

PINK1 assists our brain by removing damaged mitochondria from cells. If the damaged mitochondria remain, they “clog up” cells, causing poor function and/or cell death.

Defects in PINK1 is associated with certain classes of Parkinson’s, particularly some young-onset Parkinson’s.

The news is exciting in that they have utilised very clever technology to show detail that has never before been able to be studied. The hope is that this research will enable development of new medications to protect PINK1 and help clear damaged mitochondria.

This is all good – right?

Actually, it’s a bit “ho hum” and “more of the same”.

Many millions of dollars are spent on Parkinson’s research. Some is provided by drug companies but much comes through Parkinson’s organisations – donations from ordinary people with big hearts trying to help those in need.

It is fabulous that people care enough to give money to help others. But where does that money go?

Almost all is used in research that is intended to facilitate the development of new and innovative pharmaceutical or surgical treatments to mitigate symptoms.

Now, there’s nothing wrong with mitigating symptoms and improving quality of life. In fact, that’s good. But it is always temporary.

Less than one percent of research money is spent on developing strategies for recovering health.

Seeing the new and fabulous pictures of PINK1 is, undoubtedly, a remarkable achievement and may provide some useful information. It’s a bit like landing on the moon; a fabulous accomplishment and something to be discussed for years to come, but of limited practical application.

The question to be answered is WHY? Why does PINK1 become dysfunctional? What causes the changes surrounding PINK1 that reduces or destroys its ability to clear cells?

If we understand WHY, we can work to develop strategies or treatments to prevent the change in the first place.

We have seen similar skewed emphasis in the research on alpha synuclein. This protein, produced primarily in the bowel and appendix, is vital to brain function and protection but, when “misfolded” can aggregate and form Lewy Bodies implicated in Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s and other dementias.

The main research focus seems to be on producing drugs or “vaccines” that will block alpha synuclein before it reaches the brain or before it can aggregate. But what if we created an environment where alpha synuclein never misfolded? A healthy bowel where only healthy, active alpha synuclein is produced, travels to the brain and does its job.

Much Parkinson’s research is very clever and, often, media announcements make it seem as if we are on the verge of a “cure”. But that is not the aim of most research. I know that is what donors want and what they expect, but the actual research is mostly aimed at producing treatments that will create profit and maintain a tolerable but illness-based long life.

We have a very deep understanding of what causes our body chemistry to change and develop an illness process. Because of that, we have excellent knowledge of strategies that will slow, stop or reverse the illness process allowing us to become well.

This is not a “cure” but a way to recover the treasure of our health through self-help with guidance.

PINK1 does not have to become dysfunctional. Alpha synuclein does to have to misfold. If we adopt a truly healthy lifestyle, teach this to our children and their children and onwards, we can create a world where there is very little chronic illness.

There will never be a slick, fabulous “cure”. But we CAN get better and we can help future generations to live without the onerous burden of chronic diseases like Parkinson’s. But we must re-focus our research to look at long-term lifestyle changes, cleaning the environment and encouraging family relationships away from social media and with love.

On page 357 of “Rethinking Parkinson’s Disease” I ask “What Do We Need Now?” In that chapter, I include research funding controlled by a neutral body unattached to any commercial enterprise – especially any who might profit from Parkinson’s treatment. This body could include doctors, specialists, naturopaths and, especially, patients and carers. You may want to send me your comments once you have read this chapter.

Parkinson’s research is often clever and dedicated, but we need more. We must seek ways of recovery over profit.


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