chronic illness, Parkinson's awereness, parkinson's disease, Parkinson's Health

Is the use of complement alternative Medicine (CAM) a good choice for PD? By Dr. De Leon

I thought that it was important to cover this topic since I read and hear many of you discussing the viability of these alternative treatments. Especially since there is a growing interest in our community to resort to use of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM). This means using health and treatments for maintaining wellness previously not employed by western medicine. therefore some people use these treatments in place of (alternative) or in conjunction (complimentary). the goal of these therapies is to focus on the person as a whole- which I and most doctors are in favor of since there can be no healing of the body if the emotional and psychological aspects are not first addressed. However, there is a trend in this country and around the world to forgo conventional western medicine so many are now using the term “integrative medicine.”Image result for living well quotes

This has increased in the last few years, up to a 40 percent and I suspect that as the cost of medicines, healthcare, and number of people with chronic progressive diseases like Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s and so on  increase so will the use of these treatment modalities. Thus, I felt it to be my duty to discuss exactly what we are dealing with in order for us to become informed consumers and make the best treatment choices.

It is also extremely important to note that in the same time period the rise of liver disease and death due to liver failure has increased from intake of supplements. One of these popular deadly supplements is Kava Kava used for stress and anxiety relief. This is because unfortunately “naturalDOES NOT necessarily mean SAFE! Not only are these products not safe but for those of us who have chronic illnesses and take many other medications or have other concomitant illnesses like high blood pressure, diabetes etc. these products can interfere with the effect of those medications or worsen those other symptoms. For instance, I was extremely interested in finding some weight lose substance especially if it was “natural” since all the prescription medicine interfere with Parkinson’s directly or with the medications. I though that perhaps the popular Garcinia Cambogia would work so I bought a bottle like the rest of millions of people. First, remember that these products are not FDA approved so have variation of amount of needed extract ranging from 50 %to 80% of 72 pills tested. However, if you read the extremely fine print it contains the same chemicals used in many of the other weight loss meds which are contraindicated in people with Parkinson’s and if you should take it could cause severe serotonin syndrome and death. Needless to say that bottle went straight into the trash.

But, you must always be savvy when using any “alternative” herbal or other treatments. remember, there is NO cure for PD. If there were I would have told you and the whole scientific community would be shouting it from roof tops! Trust me, it would not be a secret. Do not fall for sensationalized news and cure all’s!. Beware of the power of the placebo effect and also of charlatans who take advantage of people in need and in pain. The mind is extremely powerful. Mind over matter we always say. Is true if we believe something so strong we can make it happen for a short period of time. This is why patients that participate in research studies do better over all. However, these studies are not controlled or double blinded and usually last 6-8 weeks the exact time before the placebo effect wears off. Do Not purchase anything that promises a quick fix or a cure! No such thing exists. if it sounds too good to be true than it probably is. however, there may be some supplements that may be beneficial for certain individuals although in larger studies have not proven to be significantly better to treat disease than placebo. These supplements include Coenzyme Q 10 – is expensive and should buy from Natures brand only  and must take at least 600 to 900mg – some people cant tolerate due to nausea. I was one of those people. but, this supplement has been used effectively and safely in many other neurological illnesses by me and my colleagues. other than this I really don’t have any other supplements that I would recommend consistently due to lack of evidence or lack of safety like many of the mucuna puriens out here which are not regulated. Plus, we do not know the long term effects of these substances. The marijuana as a potential treatment, as I spoke and blogged previously, is still extremely controversial because there are so many different types if you will and most are synthetic not natural- so we don’t have the whole story. However, studies have indicated that marijuana can worsen sleep cycle and depression 2 of the biggest problems in PD. At present, a study of marijuana oil is being conducted at university of Colorado for those interested in this topic further.

Now, within this realm of CAM we have treatments like

  • Mind-Body Medicine (e.g. prayers, mindfulness, meditation, art therapy)
  • Whole medical systems (e.g. homeopathy, ancient healing systems -acupuncture)
  • Biologically based practices (e.g. coenzyme Q)
  • Manipulative and body based (e.g. massages, yoga, dance etc.)

In the end, it is essential that you have a team of professional who you trust and will listen and treat body, mind. and soul.  We do know and have evidence that holistic treatment works best for over all well being. I am proof of this. However, what ever complementary, alternative, or integrative  treatments you opt to do you must maintain your doctor informed at all times and make sure he or she is on board with the plan so they can guide you through and avoid the perils of possible liver toxicity, overdose, or serotonin syndrome. But, also to ensure that you are being safe and not hurting yourself or making your illness worse. Remember, we do have many new drugs and initiating early treatment has proven to be most effective increasing quality of life and decreasing disability. So why waste time with unknowns (medications, herbs, remedies, treatments) that can be costly and potentially harmful in both the long and short term?

My philosophy all good things in moderation. This includes laughing, dreaming, spending time with friends and family and being useful to others as well as eating and sleeping well with an active life style of both mind and body.

love to hear your opinion on the subject…Image result for Living Simply Quotes






chronic illness, parkinson's disease

Faith, Medicine and the NEW YEAR!- : by Dr. De Leon

Brief history of medicine:

2,000 B.C. – we said “eat this root” (magic in the earth)

1,000 B.C. ” root is heathen say a prayer!”

1850 A.D – medical experts said” prayer is superstitious, drink this potion.”

1940 A.D. –  doctors were convinced that potion was snake oil, so “swallow this pill” instead…

1985 A.D. –  we knew for a fact that the pill was ineffective, so we “recommended a (stronger) antibiotic.”

Now doctors and scientist know that antibiotics are NOT the CURE ALL. So, they recommend, “eat this root “and say this prayer!- unknown

In the beginning “God created man in HIS own image…” (Genesis 1:27 NKJV); we were meant to be spiritual beings to commute with the Creator .

But somewhere along the way, in our ever increasing materialistic world and quest for instant gratification we left that spiritual world behind; this was around the 19th century when men became more afraid of germs than God.

Once, “when religion was strong and science was weak, men mistook magic for medicine; now, when science is strong and religion weak, men mistake medicine for magic.”- Thomas Szasz, the second Sin, 1973

In a recent televised conference held in the Epicenter of Jerusalem, I was astonished to discover that Americans spend more capital on alcohol per year than on Cancer research. No wonder we feel empty and shallow. We are trying to cure our problems by numbing ourselves to our surroundings.  When this does not work, we panic and feel hopeless and stuck. Then, when crisis strikes as it  inevitably  will at some point in our lives, in the form of trauma,  or  illness  feeling pulled in all directions taking care of kids, aging parents and our own  medical issues, many of us simply crumble under this pressure. At the news of a devastating illness like Parkinsons, we often look to science an doctors for a MIRACLE CURE —for MAGIC:  But some become frustrated, disenchanted, and devastated when the physicians and science do not have the ‘magic’ answer or cure to our illnesses.

ONLY AFTER all venues have been exhausted do we sometimes Turn BACK to FAITH and PRAYER for a MIRACLE  – and a hope for a glimpse of  magic.

Our society more than ever is feeling the pains of extreme segregation of science and religion when doctors are overworked burned out by the demands of the profession, Obamacare and ever changing medical health care system which does not take into account the needs of those who serve dutifully. In order to make ends meet doctors are being forced to see patients every15 minutes. It is no wonder many Americans view modern medicine in our country as “Lacking heart and soul” with good reason. 

At one point doctors might have made excellent “organ system”  diagnosis and even provided ‘first –class medical science,’ but  at present time with so many insurance restrictions and government as well as insurance interference one may be lucky if the doctor is fully present during the  patient exchange besides all the other million thoughts flying through their head auch as: the last patient’s diagnosis, the critically patient in the hospital requiring immediate attention, the next patients results among all the phone calls and interruptions between patients from the hospital, doctors, pharmacies and insurance. Never mind the stack papers that have to be filled out so that patients can get their tests done along with medications.  Oh, and by the way most likely will not get reimbursed for at least a third of the visits…

 Therefore, the underlying caring goes unperceived. So, the doctors naturally get blamed frequently by patients for being treated like an “assembly line.” However, everyone is a VICTIM in this scenario.

where you come in is making doctor stop and listen to you, make eye contact… ask 3 questions to address per visit at a maximum; this will increase the probability that your concerns and needs are met, make more frequent visits if necessary- keep lines of communication open. know that if your doctor is still practicing is because he or she is committed to medicine and taking care of you. fortunately, more medical schools are teaching physicians not just how to diagnose but also how to talk to patients about spiritual wellbeing. after all when the soul and inner being are at peace the body naturally begins to heal as well- feel better even if disease is not cured. ask your doctors to pray for you or with you and believe me it helps a lot if you also pray for your doctors!

   I am glad that after centuries of religion and science being at opposite ends of the spectrum they are now beginning to be reconciled once more in the  medical class rooms across  the country as well as in physicians offices across the U.S.A. This new movement is extremely important given that a whopping 91%  of individuals studied in Kansas City initial response to a new medical problem was prayer.

Over the years there have been a couple of large studies on intercessory prayer effects- however, the results have been disputed vehemently by both camps since It is difficult to quantify the healing of someone’s soul or the positive placebo effect? It is impossible just like measuring love yet the effects are palpable.

Faith and Medicine have been Intertwined from the very beginning: When the Jewish people became ill  they cried out to Moses who in turn cried out to GOD for relief- the Solution  (numbers 21:6-9) a Bronze serpent  Known as the NEHUSTAN which served as a sign of healing from GOD ..when those that were sick looked upon the bronze fiery serpent intertwined on a pole they were instantly healed. 

Medicine as you can see,  as well as doctors, are fallible but FAITH & HOPE are NOT! let us not mistake science and medicine for magic as well. let us instead turn back to the real magic of believing in something greater than our doctors, greater than ourselves. So , instead of focusing on the latest treatment which may or may not change tomorrow or dwell on your disability,  or  Parkinson’s; focus on how far you have traveled this year and all of the challenges you have overcome. As the new year unfolds, say a prayer, and discover the strength within that comes from above and gear up for new challenges, welcoming the storms which will bring new rainbows. You will overcome if you just believe!

Happy New year!


Dr. M. De Leon is a movement disorder specialist on sabbatical, PPAC member and research advocate for PDF (Parkinson’s Disease Foundation); Texas State Assistant Director for PAN (Parkinson’s Action Network). You can learn more about her work at you can also learn more about Parkinson’s disease at or at;, All materials here forth are property of Defeatparkinsons. without express written consent, these materials only may be used for viewers personal & non-commercial uses which do not harm the reputation of Defeatparkinsons organization or Dr. M. De Leon provided you do not remove any copyrights. To request permission to reproduce release of any part or whole of content, please contact me at contributor Contributor