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Methamphetamine Use May Risk Development of Parkinson’s Disease

Methamphetamine Use May Predispose Consumers to Future Development of Parkinson’s Disease

There are several neurodegenerative disorders but it will still not be right for anybody to talk about neurodegenerative disorders without mentioning the Parkinson’s disease. This disorder is the second most common after Alzheimer’s disease and it is affecting approximately ten million people worldwide. The probability of a person suffering from this disease increases with age with most people being diagnosed after the age of 50. Early in the course of the disease, the most obvious symptoms are movement-related. These include shaking, rigidity, slowness of movement, and difficulty with walking and gait. However, the symptoms worsens as time passes by, these may include cognitive and behavioral problems with dementia commonly occurring in the advanced stages of the disease. Other symptoms include sensory, sleep, and emotional problems. PD is caused by degeneration of midbrain dopaminergic neurons that project to the striatum. The loss of striatal dopamine is responsible for the major symptoms of the disease. Although a small proportion of cases can be attributed to known genetic factors, most cases of PD are idiopathic. While the etiology of dopaminergic neuronal demise is mysterious, a combination of genetic susceptibilities, age, and environmental factors seems to play a critical role. Dopamine degeneration process in PD involves abnormal protein handling, oxidative stress, mitochondrial dysfunction, excitotoxicity, apoptotic processes, and microglial activation or neuroinflammation.


Studies on animals on methamphetamine toxicity

Studies done on animals have shown that methamphetamine can cause long-term dopamine terminal damage as well as dopamine neuronal body loss. In rodents, repeated administration of methamphetamine causes a decrease in dopaminergic markers such as tyrosine hydroxylase (TH) and dopamine transporter. Accompanied by a reduction in TH activity, reduced levels of dopamine and its metabolites and decreased levels of vesicular monoamine transporter 2 (VMAT2). These effects occur primarily in the striatum but also in the cortex, thalamus, hypothalamus and hippocampus. Methamphetamine induces neurotoxicity in a dose-dependent manner as do other amphetamine-derivatives like MDMA. Although partial recovery of TH and dopamine transport fibers occurs after methamphetamine administration, methamphetamine-induced neurotoxicity is persistent. In mice, the greatest dopaminergic fiber loss is seen 24 hours after methamphetamine administration. Neurotoxic effects persist for more than seven days after methamphetamine exposure and one month after MDMA exposure. Drugs that induce PD symptoms and TH loss such as MPTP in mice also show a partial recovery with time in nonhuman monkeys and mice. The time courses and degrees of TH and dopamine transport fiber recovery after methamphetamine or after MDMA exposure are similar, suggesting terminal regrowth, as these two proteins are independently regulated. Researchers have also noted that there is partial recovery of dopamine levels in the striatum strongly suggesting that the regrown terminals are functional. However the mechanisms responsible for partial recovery are not known, but it is speculated that it might involve compensatory sprouting and branching as has been reported for regrowth following MPTP-induced damage. Dopamine terminal recovery has also been described in rhesus monkeys and velvet monkeys, although it appears to occur on a slower timescale than in mice. Methamphetamine-induced dopaminergic damage persists for more than 12 weeks in velvet monkeys and more than 3 years in rhesus monkeys, demonstrating the persistence of methamphetamine-induced brain damage.

Methamphetamine Toxicity in the Substantia Nigra

This drug doesn’t only cause fiber loss in TH but also produces dopamine cell body loss in the substantia nigra as shown in tests in mice that were treated with 3 methamphetamine injections (5 mg/kg) at 3-hour intervals. From the counts it is evident that 20 to 25% dopaminergic cell loss, measured at different time are linked to exposure to methamphetamine. The observed pattern of TH-stained neuron loss is very similar to the pattern of Nissl-stained neuron loss, indicating that neuronal loss is specific to dopaminergic neurons. Dopamine cell body loss was confirmed via staining with Fluoro-Jade, a general marker of neuronal degeneration that fluoresces after administration of known dopaminergic toxins such as 6-OHDA and MPTP. Fluoro-Jade stains scattered neurons degenerated in the substantia nigra after methamphetamine treatment. there is a possibility that the lack of complete recovery of TH fibers in the striatum is related to the loss of dopaminergic neurons in the Substantia nigra similar to what occurs in Parkinson’s disease.


Increased Risk of Parkinson’s Disease in Methamphetamine Abusers

There are literatures that have linked the abuse of amphetamine to the later development of PD. In a report of a study done by Callaghan and his colleagues, there is an increase in of PD in methamphetamine users in an epidemiological investigation based on data from California statewide hospital discharge records. The researchers identified 1,863 methamphetamine users, 9,315 patients hospitalized for appendicitis as a nondrug control group, and 1,720 cocaine users as a drug control group. All subjects were aged at least 50 years, had been hospitalized in California between 1990 and 2000, and had been followed for up to 10 years after discharge. The methamphetamine user group showed an elevated incidence of PD, with a 165% higher risk for development of PD than the patients from the control group. the results have been confirmed by the same group after doing the same research but in a much broader scope; 40,000 people hospitalized for methamphetamine versus 200,000 for appendicitis and 35,000 for cocaine and a 16-year follow-up period. From these two studies it is evident that methamphetamine use increases the chances of PD development in adulthood.

Drug abuse, addiction and independence are problems that people grapple with every day. These problems need to be treated effectively through integrative medicine. Dr. Dalal Akoury (MD) is an expert at this.  Call her on (843) 213-1480 for help.

Methamphetamine Use May Predispose Consumers to Future Development of Parkinson’s Disease



Marijuana withdrawal Definitive Symptoms

Marijuana withdrawal Definitive Symptoms Cannabis withdrawal involves at least two psychological and one physiological symptom

Marijuana withdrawal

MarijuanaCannabis withdrawal involves the experiencing of at least two psychological and one physiological symptom after ceasing heavy and prolonged use of marijuana. Some psychological symptoms are being Irritable, Anxiety, Depressed mood, being Restless, insomnia, reduced appetite and weight loss. Physical symptoms include abdominal pain, shaking, fever and headaches. These withdrawal symptoms cause a person to be distressed and interference with school, work, or any other daily responsibilities. Many cannabis users agree that withdrawal symptoms make it difficult for them to quit or have contributed to relapse. Most symptoms normally begin within the first 24–72 hours of cessation, peaking within the first week, and lasting approximately 1–2 weeks. Sleep difficulties may last more than 30 days. However, Withdrawal tends to be more common and severe among adults, mostly because of the more persistent and greater frequency and quantity of use among adults.

Marijuana screening

A lawful and effective detection for cannabis can take lots of time, and tests cannot define an exact degree of impairment. Nevertheless, The focusses obtained from such analyses be helpful in differentiating between active use from passive publicity, time since use, and the degree or period of use. The Duquenois-Levine test is normally used as a screening test in the field, but it cannot confirm the existence of cannabis, as a large variety of substances have been shown to provide false positives. The Duquenois–Levine test is a modest chemical color reaction test originally established in the 1930s by Pierre Duquénois. these tests involve a police officer  breaking  the seal of a tiny micropipette of chemicals, and placing an element of the assumed substance; should the chemicals turn purple, this shows the prospect of marijuana. The color variations can however be subtle, and readings can also vary by the surveyor.

  • Cows Score Withdrawal(Clinical Opiate Withdrawal Scale)

Marijuana intake before and during treatment decreased the patients score on the Clinical Opiate Withdrawal Scale (COWS) According to the Thomas Jefferson University study  .This measure is used to accurately define withdrawal symptoms in opiate-dependent patients. The lesser scores specify that cannabis plays a part in decreasing the symptoms of opiate withdrawal.

  • DSM-V Criteria And Its Relevance In Marijuana Dependency

(DSM-V) also known as Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders is used to eradicate the disease kinds for substance abuse and dependence and swaps it with a new “addictions and related disorders”

Eradicating the kind of dependence helps in better distinguishing between the compulsive drug-seeking behavior of addiction and ordinary responses of tolerance and withdrawal that some patients experience when using prescribed treatments that affect the central nervous system, Also new to the DSM-V are diagnostic criteria for “cannabis withdrawal,”. Outcomes in “clinically important distress or impairment in social or any other essential areas of working,” and is characterized by at least three of these symptoms:  anger, aggression, irritability, anxiety or nervousness; insomnia, decreased appetite or weight loss; restlessness, sweating, fever, chills, and headache.


  • Quantity and frequency of joints per day

There is no known comparable portion of cannabis consumption, possibly due to encounters such as varied joint size, tetra hydro cannabinol content, and ways of delivery Cannabis-related problems, measured by smoking, the alcohol and Substance Connection Screening Test, were foreseen from cannabis use frequency and quantity controlling for gender and age. This sample included 665 participants between the age of 15-67. Cannabis use occurrence and quantity were clearly linked with cannabis-related difficulties. People who smoked cannabis daily were at the highest risk of problems. Controlling for occurrence, the effect of quantity remained important for disappointment to do what is expected due to cannabis use. Research advises that quantity, above and beyond frequency, is a vital predictor of cannabis problems

  • Urine THC can last weeks after stopping

cannabisCannabis use can often be detected up to 5 days after exposure for people who don’t use it often but up to 15 days for people who use it heavily. People with high body fat can last up to 30 days[, an occasional or on-off user would be very unlikely to test positive beyond 3–4 days since the last use and a chronic user would be unlikely to test positive much beyond 7 days. The maximum likely times are 7 days and 21 days, in that order. In extraordinary circumstances of extended marijuana use, detection times of more than 30 days are possible in some individuals. Nevertheless, one needs to remember that every person is different, and exposure times can vary due to other factors. Cases]Common known pharmaceutical drugs which cause false positives in instant THC dip tests include:  Ibuprofen, Dronabinol, ketoprofen e.t.c

  • “Spice” can be wide variety of substance

The word ”Spice” refers to a extensive variety of herbal mixtures that produce know-hows comparable to marijuana (cannabis) and that are labelled as “safe,” legal alternatives to that drug. Usually dispensed or sold under several names, including K2, fake weed, Yucatan Fire, Skunk, Moon Rocks, among others — and also usually labeled “not fit for human consumption” — these products usually comprise of some dried, shredded plant material and chemical spices that are accountable and responsible for their psychoactive (mind-altering) Labels on Spice products often claim that they contain “natural” psycho-active material taken from a variety of plants. Spice products do contain dried plant material, but chemical analyses show that their active ingredients are synthetic (or designer) cannabinoid compounds. Another selling point is that the chemicals used in Spice are not easily detected in standard drug tests.

Marijuana withdrawal Definitive Symptoms Cannabis withdrawal involves at least two psychological and one physiological symptom

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Chemosensitivity Testing

RGCC chemosensitivity testing in cancer treatment

ChemosensitityTreatment of cancer involves the doctors analyzing some of the research findings and drug test results to give a patient a preferable cancer treatment that is thought of as the best for the type of cancer he or she has. The essence of personalized cancer treatment has attracted the attention of many doctors and the Research Genetic cancer center have  adopted a test; chemosensitivity testing that may help them know which treatment is good for a patient depending on the state and type of his cancer.

Chemosensitivity testing helps the doctors to know which drugs are good for your type of cancer. It involves extraction of the individual’s cancer cells and testing the cancer cells in lab to see which drug they are most responsive to. The chemosensitivity testing offers a guide to the doctors on which treatment methods to implement when treating the patient.

Chemosensitivity is more strategic and not haphazard and so is most effective as the drugs and the treatment procedures the patient is subjected to are pretested to know how effective they will be in treating the patient’s type of cancer.

RGCC testing may use blood or tissues and it is used to test the viability of the chemotherapy drugs in treating the cancer. It also involves genetic profiling of the cancer cell that will help the doctors decide on which treatment best suits the patient. It also checks on viability of other treatment methods that may be used alongside chemotherapy in killing the cancer.

CTCs and cancer stem cells

The circulating tumor cells (CTCs) plays a major role in metastasis. Scientists have established that metastasis can never take place without circulating tumor cells. They work as the single haematological neoplasias hence are a necessity for metastasis.

Tumor initiating cells are generally known as the cancer stem cells. They refer to tumor cells that have stems and are responsible for tumor progression. The circulating tumor cells and the cancer stem cells have similar genotypic and phenotypic characteristics.

The circulating tumor cells are very effective in spreading cancer in the body and helping in its growth. It has the ability to divide asymmetrically and give rise to many cancer cells. They can also circulate as non-proliferating tumor cells hence becoming resistant to chemotherapy however they can change from this state to proliferating pluripotent progenitor cancer cells due to dissemination.


To effectively treat cancer and avoid metastasis, the circulating tumor cells and the cancer stem cells needs to be targeted and eliminated. Treatment that is not strategic in targeting the circulating tumor cells and cancer stem cells may not yield long term health benefits.

What information can be found by identification and analysis of CTCs

The study of the circulating tumor cells provides very valuable information in tumor growth and progression as well as an insight of the long term prognosis. It will also give information to whether a specific patient will be able to respond to the treatment to be offered. The doctors will study CTCs to find out the possibility of the cancer cell reoccurring after treatment.

The doctors are finding CTCs identification and analysis as an effective tool in the diagnosis, monitoring cancer cell progression as well as cancer treatment.

Some of the information that doctors find through the identification and analysis of the CTCs include;

v  Possibility of long-term prognosis

v  Avails information that helps in identifying treatment method that a patients can positively respond to treatment

v  Possibility of the disease reoccurring after treatment

v  Evaluation of tumor regression at the right time

Chemosensitivity testing of CTCs and cancer stem cells

Chemosensitivity is a very effective way of cancer treatment. It is more personalized to fit an individual’s condition hence offer the best treatment. Chemosensitivity of CTCs is done by exposing monocultures of enriched CTCs to the available cancer therapy agents. The reaction of the cells to the treatment is analyzed. The doctors will choose the best treatment by checking on which cancer therapy agent induced apoptosis of cultured cells by a great extent. The pathologists can also learn the resistance ability of the CTCs to the cancer therapy agent by checking on how long they maintain normal behavior even after exposure to the cancer therapy agent.

Chemosensitivity helps the doctors in giving effective cancer treatments to patients as the tumor cells ability to resist certain drugs are tested before the drugs are given to the patients. The ability of the circulating tumor cells and the cancer stem cells to be resistant to the treatment offered makes treatment of cancer very difficult and this explains why some cancer patients have to go through numerous chemotherapies. Through testing in labs the doctors will be able to know the cancer treatment that will wipe out all the Circulating cancer cells as well as the cancer stem cells.

For individualized cancer treatment to be effective, the identification and analysis of the circulating tumor cells and the cancer stem cells helps a great deal. Haphazard administering of cancer drugs without testing the CTCs and the stem cells resistance ability to the drug will not work well.

Chemosensitivity testing of the circulating tumor cells and the cancer stem cells is an effective approach to cancer treatment as the CTCs and the cancer stem cells are responsible for cancer cell formation and metastasis hence must be dealt with if the disease is to be effectively treated. It also hastens the recovery process as opposed to the cases where drugs given are rendered ineffective due to the CTCs resistance. Dr. Dalal Akoury runs a website that equips people with relevant information about cancer. Check on her website regularly to benefit from her wealth of health knowledge.

RGCC chemosensitivity testing in cancer treatment

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