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A “Simple” Explanation

March 21, 2011

There is no denying that PD is complicated. It has stumped some of the best minds. This site attempts to produce its arguments at several levels of complexity to encourage understanding. This post attempts to reach the most basic level of presentation and simplification.

PD affects the brain by means of the combined actions of the immune and endocrine systems. These actions take place in the form of chemicals called cytokines in the immune system and hormones in the endocrine system. While both these families of chemicals are essential to life, chronic exposure is destructive.

Senior Onset PD is primarily a result of aging related activation of the immune aspect (inflammation), while YOPD has the additional burden of the endocrine aspect (stress). SOPD begins with a challenge to the immune system in midde age. YOPD begins with a similar challenge at a much earlier age, even in the womb.

This YOPD challenge is usually the result of maternal infection and the sensitization of the fetal immune system to subsequent encounters with bacterial toxins. However, the same infection and exposure has a similar effect on the developing endocrine system which is further influenced by maternal stress. The child is born with overly sensitive immune and endocrine reactions which over the decades damage the substantia nigra and the stress circuits of the brain.

This “super system” is further impacted by secondary factors such as stress-producing parental conflict, exposure to inflammation-producing toxins and heavy metals, etc. These interactions are many and varied and it is this rich complexity that makes each PWP  “different and yet, the same”.

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