Parkinson's disease and the modern world

The Good Life Letter

Friday 18th November 2011

  • Discover the old style anaesthetic that is doing more than knocking you out
  • Mobile phones put you in contact, and also in danger
  • Heart health and the controversial prescribed drug

Once again this week Mother Nature has demonstrated that the modern world isnít always good for our health.

You may have seen reports that linked exposure to a chemical called TCE (trichloroethylene) with an increased risk of developing Parkinsonís Disease.

This was a major breakthrough chemical in the 1920ís with uses for extracting oils from soy, coconut and palm, and also extensively used in the preparation of coffee beans.

Then it was used as an anaesthetic in place of the more dangerous ether or chloroform in the 1930ís, a dry cleaning fluid in the 1940ís and a degreasing agent for metal up until the present day.

Chances are then that we have all been in contact with it at some stage in our lives.

The research suggested that the effects of exposure could take upto 40 years to express themselves Ė which means anything that I came into contact with as a child in the 1960ís and 70ís could be about to grab me around now. Yikes!

Far from being the decades of free love and hippy living itís looking like the sixties and seventies are doing their best to kill me off.

This was the time when developments in radio systems paved the way for mobile phones, technology advances led to the commissioning of nuclear reactors for energy and a massive construction projects saw the erection of forests of pylons carrying all this new electricity around the country.

I am getting seriously worried about how these things are impacting on our nationís health.

Decisions that were made for commercial reasons all that time ago are now showing signs of causing a multitude of problems.

Letís not forget that the effects of smoking were a lot different back then. In fact, smoking was seen as entirely healthy in the 1920ís and 30ís Ė with President Roosevelt actually protecting the crop in law so that the servicemen fighting in the war could get all they needed.

By the time we get to the 1980ís all governments are splashing health warnings all over the packets and banning smoking in public buildings.

The air is crackling with danger

I have a feeling that radio waves, electromagnetic forces and radioactivity are the next big danger which will have to be dealt with.

Take the danger of mobile phones for instance.

I can recall a big hoo-haa in the press about the so-called link between mobile phones and cancer. 

Research was commissioned to provide definitive answers, and health advice was given to use earpieces rather than hold the phone to your head.

Initially the suggestion was that mobile phones could harm us because they cause an increase in temperature which can affect tissue Ė a bit like a microwave oven. However this was dismissed because the heating effect was too low.

Now research shows that the actual radio waves themselves may place us at risk, even at low levels.

The paper suggests that even moderate use of a mobile of upto 5 minutes a day stimulate chemicals which promote cell growth and division, a precursor to tumours forming.

If this is true, what about those who live under or near power lines?

In 1998 a senior panel of American health researchers stated that they had PROOF that overhead pylons caused an increase in cancer risk.

One of our own scientists, Professor Henshaw had earlier shown that atmospheric pollutants from car exhausts and industrial processing were concentrated by the electromagnetic field around the power lines, which also increase cancer risk.

And given the catastrophic effects of the Chernobyl and Fukushima plants we donít need to enter any arguments about the safety of nuclear energy production do we?

I am not a true Luddite, and will embrace new technology when it makes life easier or safer, I just want a more reasoned debate about how we deal with a legacy of changes that were never properly tested.

I also want there to be really good testing of anything new that is being planned, and where there is any risk shown decisions made on a non-financial basis.

Without protection of public health being a priority we are all at risk of more TCE stories, after all we found out about lead and asbestos too late.

Statins Ė My personal crusade

Maybe it is all of this that makes me so wary of statins.

The fact that every GP is still handing them out like candy shows they are not taking notice of a growing body of evidence that in some cases they do more harm than good.

So many of you mail me to say that your doctor has put you on them for your heart health, and wouldnít listen to your concerns or dismissed them as pure folly, which has to be wrong from an ethical and moral standpoint let alone a medical one.

We know there are natural alternatives such as [Red Rice Yeast] extract that I talked about before, but there are also drug options too.

My GP told me only yesterday that he is now prescribing an alternative compound called Ezetimibe which doesnít have the side effects, and also said there were many other options on the NHS.

So why the continued use of statins? If our GPís have alternatives that they are happy to use, even if they wonít countenance natural therapies they should be encouraged to offer alternatives when asked to.

Once again I suspect the impact of powerful drug companies steering the market, rather than any decision being made on health grounds.

If you are on statins and are worried at least you know what to ask about now.

What would you do without me!

Yours, as always





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