Author: John Pepper
Author: John Pepper
South African John Pepper, author of Reverse Parkinson's Disease has Parkinson's disease (PD) since 1968 and was diagnosed with it in 1992. PD is a progressive disease of the nervous system marked by tremor, muscular rigidity, and slow, imprecise movement, chiefly affecting middle-aged and elderly people. It is associated with degeneration of the basal ganglia of the brain and a deficiency of the neurotransmitter dopamine.
There is no cure for PD and the medications that are on the market today only deal with the symptoms not with the halting of the progression of the disease. However, recent advances in our understanding of the mechanisms of these disorders have lead to tremendous progress in treatment, both medical and surgical.
In his opening remarks, Pepper indicates that having PD was not the reason for his writing his memoir, the first edition appearing in 2003, but rather to demonstrate how he was able to reverse most of the more debilitating effects of his movement disorder and to discontinue the taking of medications other than those he needs for insomnia and mood swings. His principal objective is to help people with PD, although, as he points out, he has no science background and little formal education.
Presently, at age eighty, Pepper states that he has not cured his PD but that he lives a normal, happy life, no different to most other people. Some neurologists have been quite skeptical and are of the belief that he never had PD and thus what he discovered had nothing to do with his reversing of many of the symptoms of his PD. However, a closer look at the effects at what Pepper stumbled upon by exercising, the taking of a MAO-b inhibitor and a special kind of concentration probably have been responsible for his improved health. And today much of what he had observed several years ago have been recognized by many neurologists and others involved with the treatment of PD and are applied in its treatment as well as being in sync with the latest discoveries of neuroplasticity. The concept of neuroplasticity has replaced the formerly-held position that the brain is a physiologically static organ, and explores how - and in which ways - the brain changes in the course of a lifetime.
Reverse Parkinson's Disease divides itself into six parts beginning with the reality of Parkinson's disease and continuing with Pepper's process of reversing his PD which includes his diet and eating, attitude adjustment, discovering the final piece of the puzzle, side effects of medication, and his concluding remarks. In addition, Pepper lists in Appendix 1 a detailed list of his symptoms, in Appendix 2 he includes supporting letters he has received, Appendix 3 contains his best advice, exercise is not an option but it is mandatory, in Appendix 4 Pepper gives the reader more information about MAO-inhibitors, and Appendix 5 deals in more detail with walking and its benefits.
Although Pepper's memoir is an excellent self-help guide, there are too many generalizations and a few few chapters should be brought up to-date to reflect the changes that have taken place in the treatment of PD. For example, I take issue with his statement that “in his experience PD patients have been conditioned to accept that, until a cure is found, there is NO HOPE of any improvement in the progression of our PD. We must accept our condition to gradually deteriorate until we become totally immobile.” This may have been his experience, but you just have to look at the dozens of various programs that have been devised to help patients cope and even reverse their symptoms of PD which seem to be at odds with Pepper's statement. It is true that most movement disorders were considered untreatable a mere 50 years ago, however, steady progress continues to redefine the possibilities in treatment of these conditions, particularly when you take into account the concept of neuroplasticity that I previously mentioned.