Richard G. Petty, MD

Parkinson's Disease, the Intestine and Infections

Early in my career, one of my mentors was the eminent scientist and clinician Robert Mahler. He recently passed away at the age of 81, but in the last two years of his life he was an author on two papers (1, 2) about an ailment with which he struggled for many years: Parkinson’s disease.

Despite the best treatment, he was severely incapacitated by the illness, at one stage needing a wheelchair to get from his car to his office. But his fine mind remained undimmed by the illness, and he was intrigued by reports of an association between stomach ulcers and Parkinson’s disease and of dramatic improvements in the symptoms of some people with Parkinson’s disease who were being treated with antibiotics for gastric ulcers. (Last year Barry Marshall and Robin Warren were awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for their pioneering work on Helicobacter – a bacterium associated with peptic ulcers.
I mentioned in an earlier post that I have a strong sense that there are more prizes to come on the
interaction between infectious agents, inflammation, genes, the psyche
and the environment.)

Robert was one of the test subjects in a research study and his Parkinsonian symptoms got much better when he was treated with antibiotics. There are now several important pieces of research on the fascinating topic. In some people eradicating Helicobacter may convert rapidly progressive Parkinsonism to a quieter disease, although only a minority of sufferers have evidence of current infection.

There seems to be an interaction between aging, genes and this infectious agent. Clearly not everyone is helped by antibiotic treatment, but this is a whole new line of very promising research.

About Richard G. Petty, MD
Dr. Richard G. Petty, MD is a world-renowned authority on the brain, and his revolutionary work on human energy systems has been acclaimed around the globe. He is also an accredited specialist in internal and metabolic medicine, endocrinology, psychiatry, acupuncture and homeopathy. He has been an innovator and leader of the human potential movement for over thirty years and is also an active researcher, teacher, writer, professional speaker and broadcaster. He is the author of five books, including the groundbreaking and best selling CD series Healing, Meaning and Purpose. He has taught in over 45 countries and 48 states in the last ten years, but spends as much time as possible on his horse farm in Georgia.

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