I have to give American neurologists some credit. They know the limitations of mainstream medical science in 2015. And while the careerist, egotistical, micro-molecular-biologists at the National Institutes of Health dream of spending every red cent of research money on high-tech gene therapies and stem cell research, neurologists aren’t buying it.
In fact, earlier this year, the American Academy of Neurology met for its annual meeting in Washington, D.C. And they voted against using any of these high-tech research treatments for neurological diseases, as I’ll explain in a moment.
Of course, the federal government already burned through one “Decade of the Brain,” the big brain research initiative in the 1990s. We are now in the middle of a second “Decade of the Brain” initiative because the first one failed.
Basically, these two initiatives funneled huge amounts of federal money into high-tech medicine to supposedly find solutions to major brain and neurological diseases.
But, as I explained on Tuesday, the biggest breakthrough in decades had nothing to do with high-tech, “big brain science.” It resulted from a simple experiment by scientists at the University of Virginia (UVA) in the neglected field of basic human anatomy. Their research does far more to explain how the brain works than just about any other discovery in recent decades. Plus, it confirms the effectiveness of natural approaches to dementia, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease, and other scourges.
But high-tech approaches still garner lots of attention, as well as research money.
Take gene therapy, for example.
The government spent billions of dollars on decoding the human genome. But at the annual meeting in April, practical-minded neurologists asked whether gene therapies offer anything at all to patients with neurological diseases.
Most gene therapies for neurological diseases involve determining the sequences of all the genes (“exome”) that may be relevant. It costs about $ 5,000 per patient.
At present, doctors can theoretically diagnose various neurological disorders associated with certain genes. But, in reality, they don’t make these diagnoses. In fact, a diagnosis can be delayed for years. Even with the new, expensive “exome” gene test, only 26 percent of diagnoses were clarified according to one study.
Thankfully, some experts have the good sense to recognize that it’s too early (if ever) to consider this kind of gene testing for patients in the clinic. These tests are still in the realm of research. And there aren’t standard gene tests available for neurological diseases. Most genetic findings in neurology, and in most of medicine, are not actionable. In other words, doctors can’t do anything with the genetic information, even if it were accurate and precise. Neurologists in particular still rely on basic medical and family history, and physical and neurological examinations, despite all the billions in high-tech, mumbo-jumbo research.
Finally, only 1.5 percent of our genes relate to coding regions. But a growing amount of evidence points to the role of non-coding regions of the genome. In other words, more evidence points to environmental factors such as diet and nutrition that “influence” the expression of our genes. For example, we now know vitamin D helps regulate the expression of more than 400 genes.
What all the human genome research has really shown so far is why nutrients are so important and how they work in the most fundamentals ways. Although the evidence that they do work has long been around for anyone who was willing to look.
To put it more simply…contemporary genetic research is barking up the wrong (family) tree. And fortunately, the majority of academic neurologists recognized it. And they voted that genetic testing is a waste of time and money.
The second big issue brought up at the meeting relates to the use of stem cells.
The press gives a lot of favorable attention to fetal stem cells. That is, using cells from aborted, perfectly healthy babies (as they do for some vaccines). But the only real advances in medicine have been made using adult stem cells.
How do stem cells work?
In 1987, doctors gave fetal stem cell transplants to 350 patients with Parkinson’s disease. They got mixed results. One-fifth of these unfortunate patients developed “runaway dyskinesia.” This side effect basically means Parkinson’s disease on steroids, or in this case, stem cells.
Today, stem cell proponents use gene technology to implant a “suicide gene” that will make brain cells die before the patients develop runaway Parkinson’s disease.
But think about it. They’re killing brain cells to “cure” the patient. “The procedure was a success, but the patient didn’t make it. “ Doesn’t that sound a bit too much like a Frankenstein experiment?
The only good I can foresee coming from this experiment might be if the monster actually eliminates its inventor. Unfortunately, the real outcome was even more gruesome. Every single clinical trial on cell transplantation in these Parkinson’s patients failed. And up to 50 percent of transplant patients developed disabling problems with motor function.
Tragically, this outcome really shouldn’t have surprised anyone.
Lab research shows transplanted cells simply develop the same problems as the diseased brain cells in people with Parkinson’s. Plus, sometimes fetal cells lead to development of teratomas (literally, abnormal “monstrous” tumors) in the brain. Most neurologists voted that the world is not ready for this kind of stuff.
Of course, mainstream medical researchers continue to make their arguments to wheedle more federal funding for failed genetic and stem cell approaches to treating neurological diseases. But it’s reassuring to see that so many practical-minded neurologists said no to these Frankenstein monstrosities.
Plus, evidence shows Parkinson’s patients get good results using more natural approaches with vitamin D, B vitamins, and the natural plant product nicotine, as well as some existing medications. I reported on these proven approaches in the November 2014 issue of my Insiders’ Cures newsletter. If you’re a subscriber, you can look up this issue on my website at www.drmicozzi.com with your username and password. If you’re not yet a subscriber, now is the perfect time to get started.
Three Major Controversies in Neurology: A Debate,” Medscape (www.medscape.com) 5/18/2015