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Research Unlocks The Key Contributors To Parkinson’s Disease

Research Unlocks The Key Contributors To Parkinson’s Disease

The consumption of too much milk may contribute to a man’s risk of developing Parkinson’s disease.

The link between milk and Parkinson’s was discovered by researchers at the Shiga University of Medical Science in Otsu, Japan. It is a part of a series of ongoing studies linking the accidental consumption of pesticides with neurodegenerative diseases like Parkinson’s.

Pineapple Pesticides and Parkinson’s?

The study found that the same pesticides sprayed onto Hawaiian pineapple can show up in milk.

In the study, Dr. Robert Abbott looked at the amount of milk that men were drinking. The initial survey was a part of a larger study on aging. The participating men donated their brains to the study after their death.

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The study found that the men who drank the most milk (over 16 ounces per day) had the most significant damage in their brains. This damage featured low numbers of brain cells in the substantia nigra. This is the specific region of the brain that is damaged by Parkinson’s disease.

In addition to looking at damaged cells, researchers looked for possible signs of pesticides. The men who drank a lot of milk also had residues of a pesticide called heptachlor epoxide in their brains. Heptachlor expoxide was removed from use in the U.S. markets after 1988.

The study showed that pesticide residues were found in 9 out of 10 brains from the men who drank more than 16 ounces of milk per day. The pesticide was only found in 63.4 percent of men who did not drink milk. Strangely, the men who drank milk and smoked cigarettes saw no brain cell loss.

Connecting the Dots

Understanding the links between pesticides and Parkinson’s is important for understanding the development of the disease. Because there is no genetic link in most cases, understanding environmental causes could be the key to unlocking the disease.

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Parkinson’s is currently a mystery to many doctors and patients. Approximately 85% of Parkinson’s sufferers do not know why they have this cruel disease.

Parkinson’s affects around one million Americans. The disease features symptoms like mild to severe tremors. It can also cause rigid muscles. The combination of the two symptoms can create serious problems with movement that are often debilitating for patients.

Because no one knows why Parkinson’s occurs, there is no cure for the disease; however, treatments are becoming more effective. Early treatment can help offset some of the more painful symptoms. Ultimately, almost all patients eventually succumb to the disease.

Early treatment is crucial to improving longevity in patients who develop Parkinson’s disease, but it is not always possible because without a cause, it is hard to find an appropriate treatment plan for every patient.

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Possible Concerns and Other Links

recent report from Swedish researchers suggests that depression can be an early symptom of Parkinson’s. It may even be a risk factor for developing the disease.

The Swedish study found a link between Parkinson’s and depression. The researchers used the national health database to look for members of the population who had been diagnosed with depression between the years 1987 and 2012. The data showed that 1% of those people, who were over age 50, were diagnosed with Parkinson’s. Only .4% of people who were never diagnosed with depression were later diagnosed with Parkinson’s.

Like pesticides, researchers cannot categorically say that depression causes Parkinson’s, but pesticides and depression see significant correlation with the death of brain cells.

The Mysteries of the Brain

Like Parkinson’s, depression is also mysterious. Doctors are not sure what causes it or how to treat it appropriately. Treatment is difficult and the use of SSRI’s often results in worsening symptoms for some patients.

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The brain is a mystery. Science is only beginning the journey in understanding how the brain works. With so few clues to go on, the recent research into the potential environmental causes of neurodegenerative diseases can give people hope as they begin to navigate the aging process.

Featured photo credit: Jeremy Atkinson via flickr.com

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Last Updated on June 21, 2018

Science Says Screaming Is Good For You

Science Says Screaming Is Good For You

There are many reasons why people might scream – they’re angry, scared, or in pain (or maybe they’re in a metal band!). Some might say that screaming is bad, but here’s why science says it’s good for you.

“For the first time in the history of psychology there is a way to access feelings, hidden away, in a safe way and thus to reduce human suffering. It is, in essence, the first science of psychotherapy.” — Dr. Arthur Janov

Primal Therapy

Dr. Arthur Janov invented Primal Therapy in the late 1960’s. It is a practice that allows the patient to face their repressed emotions from past trauma head on and let those emotions go. This treatment is intended to cure any mental illness the patient may have that surfaced from this past trauma. In most cases, Primal Therapy has lead Dr. Janov’s patients to scream towards the end of their session, though it was not part of the original procedure. During a group therapy session that was at a standstill, Dr. Janov says that one of his patients, a student he called Danny, told a story that inspired him to implement a technique that he never would have thought of on his own.

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How it Started

“During a lull in our group therapy session, he told us a story about a man named Ortiz who was currently doing an act on the London stage in which he paraded around in diapers drinking bottles of milk. Throughout his number, Ortiz is shouting, ‘Mommy! Daddy! Mommy! Daddy!’ at the top of his lungs. At the end of his act he vomits. Plastic bags are passed out, and the audience is requested to follow suit.”

It doesn’t end there, though. Dr. Janov said that his patient was quite fascinated with that story, and that alone moved him to suggest something even he believed to be a little elementary.

“I asked him to call out, ‘Mommy! Daddy!’ Danny refused, saying that he couldn’t see the sense in such a childish act, and frankly, neither could I. But I persisted, and finally, he gave in. As he began, he became noticeably upset. Suddenly he was writhing on the floor in agony. His breathing was rapid, spasmodic. ‘Mommy! Daddy!’ came out of his mouth almost involuntarily in loud screeches. He appeared to be in a coma or hypnotic state. The writhing gave way to small convulsions, and finally, he released a piercing, deathlike scream that rattled the walls of my office. The entire episode lasted only a few minutes, and neither Danny nor I had any idea what had happened. All he could say afterward was: ‘I made it! I don’t know what, but I can feel.’”

Delving deeper

Dr. Janov says he was baffled for months, but then he decided to experiment with another patient with the same method, which lead to a similar result as before. The patient started out calling “Mommy! Daddy!” then experienced convulsions, heavy breathing, and then eventually screamed. After the session, Dr. Janov says his patient was transformed and became “virtually another human being. He became alert… he seemed to understand himself.”

Although the initial intention of this particular practice wasn’t to get the patient to scream, more than once did his Primal Therapy sessions end with the patient screaming and feeling lighter, revived, and relieved of stresses that were holding them down in life.

Some Methods To Practice Screaming

If you want to try it out for yourself, keep reading!

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  • Step 1: Be Alone — Be alone. If you live in a place that you can’t be alone, it might be a good idea to talk to your family or roommates and explain to them what you’re about to do and make sure they’re okay with it. If you’re good to go, move on to step 2.
  • Step 2: Lie Down — Lie down on a yoga mat on your back and place a pillow underneath your head. If you don’t own a yoga mat, you can use a rug or even a soft blanket.
  • Step 3: Think — Think of things that have hurt you or made you angry. It can be anything from your childhood or even something that happened recently to make yourself cry, if you’re not already crying or upset. You could even scream “Mommy! Daddy!” just like Dr. Janov’s patients did to get yourself started.
  • Step 4: Scream — Don’t hold anything back; cry and scream as loud as you can. You can also pound your fists on the ground, or just lie there and scream at the top of your lungs.

After this, you should return your breathing to a normal and steady pace. You should feel lighter, like a weight has been lifted off of you. If not, you can also try these other methods.

Scream Sing

Scream singing” is referring to what a lot of lead singers in metal or screamo bands will do. I’ve tried it and although I wasn’t very good at it, it was fun and definitely relieved me of any stress I was feeling from before. It usually ends up sounding like a really loud grunt, but nonetheless, it’s considered screaming.

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  • Step 1 — Bear down and make a grunting sound.
  • Step 2 — Hiss like a snake and make sure to do this from your diaphragm (your stomach) for as long as you can.
  • Step 3 — Breathe and push your stomach out for more air when you are belting notes, kind of like you would if you were singing.
  • Step 4 — Try different ways to let out air to control how long the note will last, just make sure not to let out too much air.
  • Step 5 — Distort your voice by pushing air out from your throat, just be careful not to strain yourself.
  • Step 6 — Play around with the pitch of your screams and how wide your mouth is open – the wider your mouth is open, the higher the screams will sound. The narrower or rounder your mouth is (and most likely shaped like an “o”), the lower the screams will sound.
  • Step 7 — Start screaming to metal music. If you’re not a huge metal fan, it’s okay. You don’t have to use this method if you don’t want to.

If you want a more thorough walkthrough of how to scream sing, here’s a good video tutorial. If this method is too strenuous on your vocal chords, stop. Also, make sure to stay hydrated when scream singing and drink lots of water.

Scream into a pillow

Grab a pillow and scream into it. This method is probably the fastest and easiest way to practice screaming. Just make sure to come up for air.

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Always remember to make sure that you’re not going to disturb anyone while practicing any of these methods of screaming. And with that, happy screaming!

Featured photo credit: Sharon Mollerus via flickr.com

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