Alcoholism and health news on which journalist Scott Stevens has reported, with additional commentary from the award-winning international self-help author.
Tuesday, November 24, 2015
Alcohol use can be a Parkinson's disease contributing factor, hampers treatment
Chronic use of alcohol often creates brain chemistry imbalances. It's a chicken and egg thing: The alcohol use also can stem from brain chemistry imbalances. Regardless of which comes first, one problem related to the alcohol use and brain chemistry could be Parkinson's disease. (The Sobriety :60+ #63 on alcohol and Parkinson's disease
Parkinson's research has come a long way – thanks in part to actor Michael J. Fox and boxer Muhammed Ali. The central nervous system disorder is characterized by symptoms – like tremors, rigid limbs and slow movement – stemming from the death of cells that produce dopamine, a chemical in the brain. After following up with patients who had been to the hospital due to alcohol use, Swedish researchers investigated whether alcohol use disorders -- including the disease of alcoholism -- are linked to Parkinson's disease and found a relationship between the two.
Patients who abused alcohol were 1.4 times more likely to develop Parkinson's disease than patients who did not abuse alcohol. The risk was heightened among patients who had been to the hospital for an alcohol use disorder before they were 44 years old. Alcohol can cause a flux in the dopamine levels, but also damages brain tissue at the cellular level, as covered in a previous episode of The Sobriety :60+. More research lies ahead for the alcohol/Parkinson's connection, but enough connection has been revealed in the Swedish research and related animal studies to debunk old-school thinking that alcohol had a protective effect when it came to Parkinson's.
If the evidence-based science isn't enough, consider this: alcohol is a central nervous system depressant and can cause many symptoms that mimic, exacerbate, or mask Parkinson's. And another point of fact is that anti-Parkinson’s meds and the alcohol are a harmful combination and the mix can even overwhelm the liver's ability to metabolize either drug. The 10 percent of your body mass between your ears operates best within the delicate balance of the brain chemicals with which we're all born and specifically the dopamine and serotonin. Tossing a known toxin into the balance isn't likely to yield changes for the good, and may cause permanent change for the worse.
Visit alcohologist.com for a replay of CBS Sports' Power Up Your Health featuring Scott Stevens. Host Ed Forteau led a discussion on risky myths of about "healthy" drinking.Lucy Pireel's "All That's Written" included a feature on Every Silver Lining Has a Cloud called "When alcohol doesn't work for you anymore." Details on the third literary award for Every Silver Lining Has a Cloud and the first for Adding Fire to the Fuel also can be found on www.alcohologist.com, plus the NEW book, Adding Fire to the Fuel, is now available. Download the FREE Alcohology app in the Google PlayStore today