Boxing gyms around the world are helping patients diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease fight back. Parkinson’s disease is the second most common type of neurodegenerative disease affecting an estimated 7-10 million people worldwide. The disease is characterized by a progressive loss of muscle control leading to slow movement, rigidity, resting tremor and instability. As symptoms worsen it may be difficult for individuals with Parkinson’s to walk, talk and perform simple tasks.
Dopamine is a chemical that acts as a messenger between brain cells. It plays a role in how we move, what we eat, and how we learn. The substantia nigra, a tiny strip of tissue on both sides of the base of your brain produces dopamine. When the brain cells in the substantia nigra start to die, dopamine levels drop. When the level of dopamine gets to low, you will begin to experience symptoms of Parkinson’s disease.
A number of studies have shown intense exercise increases the amount of dopamine produced by the brain and increases the brains efficiency to use the increased amount of dopamine; for these reasons intense exercise is one of the best ways to slow the progression of symptoms.
Researchers believe the intensity level and complexity of movement required makes non-contact boxing an effective method for slowing down the progress of Parkinson’s disease. Patients say it helps their coordination, they are able to take longer strides, and stand more upright.
Boxing gyms in the United States, England, Australia and around the world are offering 90-minute classes two to three times a week. You can go to www.rocksteadyboxing.org for more information and to find a class in your area.
The Stem Cells Transplant Institute in Costa Rica, is using adult autologous stem cells to help patients fight the signs and symptoms of Parkinson’s disease. Clinical trials have shown mesenchymal stem cells have the ability to differentiate, self-renew, suppress the immune system, reduce inflammation, and repair tissues.
Mesenchymal stem cells have been shown to repair and regenerate neurons in the brain, reduce levels of free radicals, improve synaptic connection from damaged neurons and regulate inflammation. It is not clear how mesenchymal stem cells perform these functions, but one theory is: injected stem cells are drawn to the injured area where they release trophic factors (molecules that support cell survival) that aid in repairing damaged cells. The trophic factors can suppress the local immune system, form new blood vessels, reduce levels of free radicals, stop the damage occurring to tissue, and increase the recruitment, retention, proliferations and differentiation of stem cells.
Stem cell treatment for Parkinson’s disease is designed to target these neurons and help with the creation of new dopamine producing neurons. In addition, stem cells may release natural chemicals called cytokines which can induce differentiation of the stem cells into dopamine producing neurons.
Today the goal of stem cell treatment for Parkinson’s disease is to alleviate symptoms and improve neurological function. Patients have been very happy with the results and have experienced a significantly improved quality of life. However, for some patients, in time, dopaminergic neurons may a decline, symptoms may return and another stem cell treatment may be necessary.
Treatment at the Stem Cells Transplant Institute could help improve the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease:
- Slowed movement (bradykinesia)
- Rigid muscles
- Impaired posture and balance
- Loss of automatic movements
- Speech changes (softly, quickly, slur or hesitate before talking)
- Writing changes
If you or a love one has been diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease contact the Stem Cells Transplant Institute to learn more about stem cell therapy. Contact us today.