By Alexander C. Frank, DC, DACNB, FABES
Parkinson’s is a complex disease that progresses over several years, and to date, has no cure. It is a neurodegenerative disease thatwreaks havoc on the brain, which in turn interferes with the body’s fine motor skills. The brain’s neurons (nerve cells) are what create dopamine and the deterioration of this process is the cause of Parkinson’s disease.
In Parkinson’s patients, the dopamine chemical production is slowed down and over time it can be completely diminished. Some of the first symptoms of early Parkinson’s’ disease are impaired sense of smell, constipation and sleep disorders. These early signs are found in the medulla and the enteric region of the brain. Some patients will have diminished voices, develop rigid muscles and show little to no expression on their faces within the middle stages of the disease.
As the disease progresses, it eventually reaches the substantia nigra region of the brain, which controls the bodies movements. Once this stage is reached, patients have a difficult time controlling their bodily functions, and they develop tremors and have jarring irrepressible movements. One of the most common symptoms for all patients with Parkinson’s disease is the inability to maintain adequate balance.
Along with medications, physical therapy is a main treatment for multiple conditions within the Parkinson’s disease spectrum, and while these are crucial for balance and movement conditioning, there are add-on treatments that can also help to restore balance. A well-studied treatment option is red and infrared light modulation or photobiomodulation.
Within the brains of those with Parkinson’s disease are areas that are affected by lack of oxygen, toxic environments, and mitochondrial dysfunction. Photobiomodulation is shown to reduce cell damage and death, as well as to protect dopamine-producing neurons.
Studies have shown improvement in cognitive, emotional, and executive function. Photobiomodulation is an in-office procedure that cause no pain, and it is non-invasive.
Photobiomodulation, has been reported to offer neuroprotection and to improve locomotor behavior in animal models of Parkinson’s disease, from rodents to non-human primates (Rojas and Gonzalez-Lima, 2011; Hamblin, 2016; Johnstone et al., 2016). 1 Photobiomodulation stimulates and activates stem cell production, which help to reduce inflammation and disease in multiple affected areas of the brain, and it increases motor cortex activity. 2 Light therapy in the experimental setting has been shown to both protect and rescue neurons from degeneration after parkinsonian injury, something that current therapies in patients do not do. 1 Photobiomodulation is also showing signs of markedly helping with other symptoms of neurodegenerative brain dysfunctions.
In addition to photobiomodulation, Florida Functional Neurology Group also provides other technological diagnostic and advanced therapies for balance issues. To name a few, BTrackS™ Assess Balance software gives healthcare professionals a suite of standard and advanced protocols for objectively assessing and training an individual’s balance over time. Interactive Metronome® (IM) is an evidence-based training and assessment tool that is proven to improve cognition, attention, focus, memory, speech/language, executive functioning, comprehension, as well as motor and sensory skills, and Optokinetic nystagmus (OKN) is a rapid eye movement technique that can also improve balance in Parkinson’s patients.
Florida Functional Neurological Groups, Dr. Frank is always on the leading-edge of the latest advancements and delves into research and opportunities for his patients dealing with chronic conditions.
About Dr. Frank
I understand that no two people are quite alike and as such, no two injuries or pains manifest themselves identically. That’s why I offer a diverse range of neurological techniques, chiropractic adjusting techniques, treatments, therapies, along with nutritional support to better assist you and your loved ones’ on the road to optimal health & maximum potential.
Dr. Alexander Charles Frank, a native of Merrick, NY, grew up in Fort Lauderdale, FL, playing high velocity, impact sports such as football and hockey. He experienced many of the consequences of participating in collision sports, such as sprain, strains, dislocations, fractures, and many high velocity impacts. Upon entering high school, he parlayed his fascination for anatomy, physiology and sports and became an athletic trainer. He continued his athletic training career at the University of Florida working in the largest Intramural Sports Program in the world.
Dr. Frank has always felt an inner drive to serve his community. He has been a part of the Fire Rescue and EMS service since 1989, beginning at the age of 13. He received his state certification as a Fire Fighter II and Emergency Medical Technician in 1994. Dr. Frank served with Alachua County Fire Rescue during his studies in Gainesville, FL. He continued his Fire-Rescue career after college with the city of Plantation (FL) Fire Department, receiving the Rookie of the Year award for his Battalion in 1997.
Dr. Frank began his collegiate studies at the University of Florida in Gainesville. As a student there, he saw a need for a more rapid response to campus emergencies. Dr. Frank co-founded the University of Florida BIKe (Basic Immediate Kare) Team, the first student run Emergency Medical Service in the state of Florida. Dr. Frank later transferred to and graduated from Florida Atlantic University, focusing his studies in the fields of evolutionary psychology, biology, and early childhood development, which are the foundations for his healing philosophy.
After moving to California in 2000, he taught high school science and math in Oakland, CA. He earned his Doctorate of Chiropractic degree from Life Chiropractic College West in June of 2008, graduating cum laude. Dr. Frank is a certified Interactive Metronome and Nambudripad’s Allergy Elimination Technique (NAET) practitioner.
Florida Functional Neurology Group
(352) 571-5155 | ffng.org