Love and Other Drugs

Just saw the movie called “Love and other drugs”. I wasn’t expecting a good story line but it turned out to be a great one. Lots of interesting points in the movie. Among these includes a lesson in what happens to people with Parkinson’s disease or Parkinsonism. Basic info on Parkinson’s disease. It is a progressive neuro-degenerative disorder that affects motor skills, cognition and the autonomic nervous system as well. It is characterized by depletion of a neurotransmitter called dopamine in the substancia nigra part of the brain. Initial symptoms include bradykinesia, rigidity and tremors. The simplistic approach to treatment is to prevent further depletion of dopamine (and diminish motor symptoms) using medications such as Sinemet or MAO inhibitors. What are the possible causes of PD? An obvious cause involves repeated head trauma such as seen in boxers (Muhammad Ali and Manny Pacquiao’s boxing coach).

In the medical literature, there’s idiopathic PD, meaning the causes are unknown. Of course, other possible causes are not explored and these include the presence of heavy metal toxicity (mercury, arsenic, lead, aluminum), excitotoxins (chemicals such as pesticides or MSG which excite neurons to death) and oxidative stress. Anyway, I’m surprised that the movie even mentioned chelation therapy, which is the accepted form of treatment for heavy metal toxicity. Chelation therapy involves the administration of chelating agents such as EDTA, which attach to heavy metals and are then excreted through the kidneys primarily.

One other interesting point is when Anne Hathaway went to accompany seniors across the border to Canada to purchase their prescription medications. Sad but true. We’re spending more on the same medications that are sold elsewhere for less. And then another one is when Hank Azaria, who plays the doctor, confides to Jake Gyllenhaal, the erstwhile drug rep, that his job isn’t as fulfilling anymore because of HMO’s, paperwork and worry about medical malpractice lawyers just waiting to prey on him.

Anyway, the most important lesson in the movie I believe is unconditional love. We should love one another just because……

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