Adolf Hitler: Expert discusses Parkinson’s symptoms
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Parkinson’s disease is caused by a shortfall in dopamine, which sends signals between parts of the brain and nervous system to control coordination and movement. The death of brain cells triggers an onslaught of complications, that can be severely damaging to the quality of life of sufferers. Certain foods, however, can halve the chances of developing the disease.
Studies have shown that those who follow a Mediterranean diet, high in fruits, vegetables, legumes, whole grains and saturated fat, are less likely to develop symptoms.
One study, led by researchers at the University of Tokyo, uncovered this link by comparing the eating habits of newly diagnosed Parkinson’s patients with those of healthy volunteers.
The sample was split into different groups, and each was assigned one of three diets; a healthy diet, a western diet or light meals.
A healthy diet, which consisted of fresh fruit, vegetables, fish, pulses and mushrooms, was shown to have the most prominent effects.
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People in this group showed a 46 percent reduced chance of developing the condition, compared to those in the two other groups.
The two other diets, conversely, did not demonstrate protective effects against Parkinson’s.
In a report, the researchers concluded: “A dietary pattern consisting of high intakes of vegetables, fruits and fish may be associate with a decreased risk of Parkinson’s disease.
Although it remains unclear how food is able to protect against the condition, researchers believe that Parkinson’s could result from oxidative stress, which is heavily linked to poor diet.
Mediterranean diets emphasise an abundance of plant foods, including fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts and legumes.
The Parkinson’s Foundation says: “The diet stressed eating more vegetables and monounsaturated fats, such as olive oil, while consuming smaller amounts of lean protein, including chicken of fish high in omega-3 fatty acids, such as salmon.”
“People living with Parkinson’s disease find, as the disease progresses, that eating most of their protein later in the day better controls their symptoms.
‘Since Parkinson’s can affect digestive function, people living with Parkinson’s may notice symptoms such as constipation and early satiety (the sensation of feeling full after consuming a small amount of food.”
There is currently no cure for Parkinson’s, so adapting your lifestyle is an important protective measure against the disease.
Some drugs can help alleviate severe symptoms by compensating for the shortfall in dopamine. As with most diseases, however, prevention is key.
There are many known risk factors for Parkinson’s, but conflicting research over the years has argued genes are the strongest determinant of the disease.
It is believed the condition could be caused by a number of complex interactions between genetic predisposition and external risk factors, such as pesticides, head injury and toxic metals.
Other studies have drawn a connection between rural living and Parkinson’s.
The symptoms produced by the disease can be split into two categories – motor symptoms and non-motor symptoms.
Motor symptoms are related to movement, while non-motor symptoms include pain, depression, constipation and sweating.
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