Parkinson’s Disease affects millions of people around the world, and several research studies indicate that dietary nicotine therapies can help fight slow the progression of its related symptoms. While Americans tend to view nicotine in a negative light due to its association with combustible tobacco products, the medical community is taking the news of this potential life-improving therapy very seriously. One such organization is the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research.
Most vapers know Mr. Fox from the 1980s sitcom Family Ties and the Back to the Future movies. While he was filming the television series Spin City in the late 1990s, he was diagnosed with Parkinson’s. He eventually left the show and was replaced by the notorious Charlie Sheen. However, Fox has never let his illness slow him down. Even today, he appears regularly in TV and movies.
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He also has formed the Michael J. Fox Foundation to promote and fund medical research in the hopes of finding a cure. In the process, the organization seems to have discovered the potential for nicotine therapies to improve the quality of life in Parkinson’s patients. As far back as January 2013, The Michael J. Fox Foundation endorses scientific research that supports these theories.
“And there’s still much to learn about possible biological connections between nicotine and PD. To date, most human-based data around nicotine and Parkinson’s has been purely epidemiological, says Maurizio Facheris, MD, MSc. This means that there might be other ways to describe the relationship between nicotine and PD that aren’t ‘brain chemically-based.’
Here’s one such example of how epidemiological data can return scientific twists and turns: A past study from Matthew Menza, MD, found that people with PD tend to be less likely on the whole to be “novelty-seekers,” possibly because they have less dopamine in the brain (dopamine might inspire people to be more likely to seek out emotional stimuli). These individuals were also more likely to see smoking as a bad idea. On the other hand, the study found, “novelty-seekers” were more likely to take risks such as smoking, and they were also less likely to develop Parkinson’s. In short: Maybe those who are in the early stages of PD are just less likely to smoke because of how their brains are wired.”
While the foundation’s endorsement of nicotine therapies research was posted over five years ago, the journal Medical News Today has also endorsed these findings as recently as 2016. It is also important to note that neither organization encourages Parkinson’s patients to begin smoking cigarettes. Instead they suggest obtaining the therapeutic benefits of nicotine through edibles like peppers, eggplant, tomatoes, and a flowering plant named Solanaceae. Perhaps very soon they will also endorse vaping as a therapeutic aid.
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