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  • Researchers Extol Future Promise Of Synthetic Drugs Over Natural Molecules That Could Have Cured Parkinson’s Disease Years Ago

    October 10, 2017: by Bill Sardi

    A Drug May Be In The Works To Prevent Death Of Dopamine-Making Cells In The Brain Responsible For Parkinson’s Disease, But In 2014 Researchers Showed These Cells Can Be Regenerated With A Little Help From Nature

    Oct. 9, 2017- Superlatives abound. The discovery announced today of the 3D makeup of a molecule called PINK1 that regenerates cell energy compartments called mitochondria is now reported in the science journal elife. Scientists are gushing all over themselves about the importance of this breakthrough that could lead to a cure for Parkinson’s disease.

    Calling it a “transformative step on the way to a solution,” and “a fantastic step forward for the community” it may help “develop novel drugs to protect against this devastating disease,” they say. What they are talking about is making a patentable synthetic version of PINK1, an enzyme that both protects dopamine-making cells in the brain and degrades others that are irreversibly mutated.

    Normally reserved researchers excitingly report:

    • They have “finally cracked the secret behind a brain enzyme deemed responsible for the degenerative nerve condition.”
    • Predicted are “drugs that…. may be able to slow, stop or even reverse nerve cell death.”
    • “This knowledge is vital for developing drugs that can switch PINK1 back on, which has the potential to slow or even stop the progression of the condition, something current treatments are unable to do.”

    By the sound of these researchers, we can expect a cure by next Thursday.

    This discovery is said to “provide a framework to undertake future studies directed at finding new drug like molecules.” But is a new synthetic drug what is needed?

    Progressive dopamine loss

    In Parkinson’s disease nerve cells that produce the brain chemical dopamine progressively die off. Symptoms of Parkinson’s disease appear when approximately 50-60% of these neurons degenerate causing a 70-80% depletion of dopamine levels in the dorsal striatum of the brain.

    There is no cure for Parkinson’s, and treatment only provides symptomatic relief while the disease insidiously progresses.

    A news report says: “PINK1’s guard-role has long been a Holy Grail for Parkinson’s research.” A drug version of PINK1 or a synthetic activator of PINK1 “could open up new avenues for potential new treatments for the incurable disease.”

    Cells with these PINK1 mutations in their mitochondria have difficulty cleaning clean up their damaged mitochondria, leading to the neuronal damage typical of Parkinsonism, the four cardinal signs being rigidity, slowness of movement, postural instability, and hand tremor.

    PINK1 flags dysfunctional mitochondria and recruits another enzyme called PARKIN to eventually degrade faulty mitochondria.

    The whole story

    However, the whole story is not being told in the scientific report or in news reports. Degradation of broken and irrepairable mitochondria is just the first part of mitochondrial regeneration.

    The regenerative process is referred to as mitochondrial fission and fusion. First damaged mitochondria are degraded (fission) and then mixed with intact mitochondria (fusion), thus replacing damaged mitochondrial DNA. Of course, some irreversibly damaged mitochondria are eliminated (a process called mitophagy).

    Discovery in 2014

    But in 2014 another team of researchers showed that the Sirtuin3 survival gene, along with the better-known Sirtuin1 survival gene, influence a gene transcription factor called FOXO3 to activate PINK1/PARKIN and initiate fission and eventually fusion (regeneration) of mitochondria in heart cells.

    These researchers reported that the resveratrol, known as a red wine molecule, and a commercially available resveratrol-based nutraceutical (Longevinex®) activated PINK1/PARKIN. But neither resveratrol or Longevinex® have been put to the test in a human clinical trial.

    What are neurologists waiting for? The disease is incurable, there are no serious side effects reported with the use of resveratrol in over a dozen years on the open market, so what is to stop a compassionate doctor from prescribing Longevinex®, a proven brand?

    Measurement of the area of heart muscle tissue that was damaged when circulation was restored to the heart (called reperfusion injury) was compared between untreated, resveratrol-treated and Longevinex-treated animal hearts.

    Experimental heart attack in lab animals

    Heart attack- no treatment

    Heart attack + resveratrol

    Heart attack + Longevinex®

    Area of damage (scarring or fibrosis) to heart muscle following experimentally induced heart attack and restoration of circulation (reperfusion injury)

    36%

    19%

    17%
    (About 12% Difference)

    Interpretation: millions more heart muscle cells spared death than plain resveratrol

    Source: Oxidative Medicine & Cell Longevity 2014

    Microscopic images of heart tissue following heart attack in untreated, resveratrol pre-treated and Longevinex® pre-treated animal hearts; note more intact heart muscle in Longevinex®-treated tissue.

    SirT1 and SirT3 comparison

    Above are protein measurements (Western Blot Test) that reflect epigenetic activity of Sirtuin1 & Sirtuin3 survival genes that in turn activate PINK1/PARKIN genes to create regeneration of cell energy compartments called mitochondria in heart muscle tissue. The darker and thicker the image, the greater the gene activation. The epigenetic superiority of Longevinex® over plain resveratrol is readily apparent.

    So who were the researchers who demonstrated the PINK1/PARKIN genes can be activated to produce a potential cure for Parkinson’s disease? None other than Dipak Das (deceased prior to publication) and his students who braved to get this paper published.

    Dipak Das PhD, who had published over 500 papers, was the co-founder of a leading medical journal, who had written chapters in many books and served as an overseer for grants from the National Institutes of Health, was falsely accused of scientific fraud (doctoring of western blot images like those you see above) which are corroborated by microscopic photos of heart muscle. So there is no way any of these Western Blot tests are doctored.

    While Parkinson’s disease affects only 1% of the population over age 60 (5% over age 85), all adults as they age are losing dopamine-making cells in their brain which not only may lead to Parkinson’s symptoms but heart failure as well.

    Dopamine levels decline by around 10% per decade starting from early adulthood. Signs of dopamine deficiency are apparent in many adults (fatigue, depression, stress intolerance, lack of concentration, forgetfulness, restless leg syndrome, oversleeping, poor handwriting).

    So basically what Dipak Das and colleagues had discovered and his former students had persisted in publishing could have wide application in a long-living population.

    Now you may understand the fate of researchers who buck the hidden agenda to make sure diseases are not cured by anything other than Rx drugs. The stress created by negative news headlines distributed worldwide led to Dr. Das’ early demise.

    Powerful forces are at work. Longevinex® itself received two unsigned letters on a major university’s letterhead threatening to slander the company if it continued with its research.

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