HOMEOPATHY FOR NEURODEGENERATIVE DISEASES

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Neurodegenerative diseases, including Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, and Huntington’s, present an overwhelming burden on individuals and society as a whole. Conventional treatments struggle to provide satisfactory results. Can homeopathy offer an alternative approach for the treatment of neurodegenerative diseases?

Homeopathy offers a unique strategy in the fight against neurodegenerative diseases through its potential to enhance the availability and effectiveness of neurotrophic factors. Homeopathy is a system of medicine that aims to stimulate the body’s own healing mechanisms. By utilizing neurotrophic factors in homeopathic potency, we may overcome the challenges associated with their distribution to the central nervous system, ultimately promoting neuronal growth, survival, and function.

It was once believed that individuals are born with a set number of neurons that decreases as they age, and that synapses are also unalterable. However, recent research has shown that the brain is not a static entity and can physically change in response to environmental factors throughout one’s lifespan.
The purpose of this article is to provide a summary of the role of neurotrophic factors in the ageing process and pathogenesis of psychiatric and neurodegenerative disorders. Additionally, it aims to highlight the possible therapeutic applications of neurotrophic factors in homeopathic potency in managing and treating neurodegenerative diseases.

In the 1950s, Rita Levi-Montalcini made a landmark discovery by identifying nerve growth factor (NGF), which was the first member of the neurotrophin family. For her pioneering work on NGF, she was honoured with a Nobel Prize in 1986. Since the time of this important discovery, many new members of the family of neurotrophic factors have been identified and extensively researched, leading to significant advances in the field. Neurotrophic factors are categorized into three groups: the neurotrophins, the glial cell-line derived neurotrophic factor family ligands (GFLs), and the neuropoietic cytokines. The neurotrophin family comprises brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), nerve growth factor (NGF), neurotrophin 3 (NT3), and neurotrophin 4 (NT4).
The available research indicates that neurotrophic factors significantly influence the regulation of several aspects related to the development and functioning of the peripheral and central nervous systems.

They perform signaling and controlling functions, regulating the growth, survival, differentiation, and apoptosis of neurons and glial cells. Neurotrophic factors play an important role in cell proliferation, axon and dendrite elongation, dendrite pruning, myelination, synaptogenesis, and synaptic plasticity.
Changes in the regulation and level of certain neurotrophic factors and their receptors have been detected not just as a component of the typical ageing process but also in nervous system neurodegenerative pathologies.

Studies into the pathogenesis of neurological and psychiatric disorders have demonstrated the importance of neurotrophic factors in the development of conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease, Multiple Sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease, and Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS).
Alzheimer’s disease is a neurodegenerative condition characterised by progressive memory loss, cognitive impairment, abnormal accumulation and aggregation of proteins such as beta amyloid and tau in the brain, neuronal loss and reduced level of neurogenesis. Studies have shown that higher expression of Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor (BDNF) in the brain can slow the cognitive decline of Alzheimer’s disease patients.

Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a chronic autoimmune disease of the central nervous system, characterised by demyelination of neurons. The survival and regeneration of motor and sensory neurons, prevention of degeneration after neuronal injury, and stimulation of myelin-forming cells in the central and peripheral nervous system all require various neurotrophic factors.

Parkinson’s disease is characterised clinically by the degeneration of dopaminergic motor neurons, resulting in progressive movement disorders. This is manifested as an inability to control voluntary movements, rigidity and postural instability, and tremors. The full spectrum of symptoms associated with Parkinson’s disease includes sleep and mood disorders, cognitive impairment, anxiety, and depression. Studies investigating the pathophysiology of Parkinson’s disease have found reduced levels of neurotrophic factors such as BDNF and GDNF in dopaminergic regions affected by the condition.
The research indicates that cognitive performance during disease or aging depends on the level of expression of neurotrophic factors. A low serum level of BDNF is associated not only with poor cognitive performance in healthy older people but also considered a common nonspecific marker of neurodegeneration.

BDNF is responsible for the survival, growth, differentiation, and improvement of serotonergic neurons according to several studies. Lower levels of serotonin (5-HT) and brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) have been observed in depression, psychiatric disturbances, affective and anxiety disorders, as well as normal aging. The interplay between BDNF and 5-HT signalling impacts the development and plasticity of neuronal circuits implicated in these disorders. Additionally, this interaction plays an integral part in the regulation of certain behaviours, including pathological behaviours.
Several psychiatric disorders are linked to modified levels of NGF and BDNF, as well as alterations in the expression of their receptors. The aberrations in BDNF signalling, expression and function have been identified in the brains of individuals who died by suicide. Stress has a down-regulating influence on BDNF expression, rendering it a recognized risk factor in the aetiology and pathogenesis of suicide.

In adults, NGF is an essential mediator of inflammatory and neuropathic pain in many acute and chronic illnesses. Elevated levels of BDNF and NGF lead to heightened activity of sensory neurons, which are linked to an increased sensation of pain.

As neurogenesis occurs in the adult brain and neurotrophins have the capacity to modulate its levels, numerous studies have investigated the potential of utilising neurotrophic factors as a treatment for not only Alzheimer’s disease, but also other neurodegenerative disorders. Nevertheless, the existence of the blood-brain barrier (BBB) poses a challenge in the development of neurotrophin-based treatment therapies. The blood-brain barrier (BBB) poses a significant challenge for large proteins, such as neurotrophic factors, attempting to enter the brain.

HOMEOPATHY FOR NEURODEGENERATIVE DISEASES

An alternative approach to tackle issues with the delivery of neurotrophic factors to the CNS involves use of them in homeopathic potency. neurotrophic factors used in in homeopathic potency can stimulate bodys natural ability to produce those compounds. An alternative strategy to address the challenges associated with the distribution of neurotrophic factors to the CNS is to use them in homeopathic potency, which can stimulate the body’s natural production of these compounds.

Homeopathy is a holistic system of medicine that operates on the principle of “like cures like” and relies on the concept of potentization. In the context of neurotrophic factors, using them in homeopathic potency aims to trigger the body’s endogenous production of these proteins. This response can potentially lead to increased production and distribution of neurotrophic factors within the CNS, promoting neuronal growth, survival, and function.
One of the advantages of using neurotrophic factors in homeopathic potency is the potential to overcome the challenges associated with direct delivery methods. These challenges include the limited ability of neurotrophic factors to penetrate the blood-brain barrier and the issue of degradation during transport or administration.

By stimulating the body’s natural production, homeopathic preparation bypasses these obstacles, allowing for a potentially more efficient and targeted approach to neurotrophic factor distribution within the CNS. In conclusion, utilizing neurotrophic factors in homeopathic potency offers an alternative strategy to address the challenges associated with their distribution to the CNS. By stimulating the body’s natural production, it potentially enhances the availability and effectiveness of these crucial proteins in promoting neuronal growth, survival, and function.

Reference:

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Razavi S., Nazem G., Mardani M., Esfandiari E., Salehi H., Esfahani S. H. Z. Neurotrophic factors and their effects in the treatment of multiple sclerosis. Adv Biomed Res. 2015; 4: 53.

Allen S.J., Dawbarn D. Clinical relevance of the neurotrophins and their receptors. Clin Sci (Lond). 2006 Feb;110(2):175-91.

Weissmiller A.M., Wu C. Current advances in using neurotrophic factors to treat neurodegenerative disorders. Transl Neurodegener. 2012; 1: 14.

Huang E. J., Reichardt L. F. Neurotrophins: Roles in Neuronal Development and Function. Annu Rev Neurosci. 2001 ; 24: 677–736.

Ventriglia M., Zanardini R., Bonomini C., Zanetti O., Volpe D., Pasqualetti P., Gennarelli M., Bocchio-Chiavetto L. Serum brain-derived neurotrophic factor levels in different neurological diseases. Biomed Res Int. 2013;2013:901082.

Popova N.K., Ilchibaeva T.V., Naumenko V.S. Neurotrophic Factors (BDNF and GDNF) and the Serotonergic System of the Brain. Biochemistry (Mosc). 2017 Mar;82(3):308-317.

Mattson MP, Maudsley S, Martin B. BDNF and 5-HT: a dynamic duo in age-related neuronal plasticity and neurodegenerative disorders.Trends Neurosci. 2004 Oct;27(10):589-94.

Gunstad J., Benitez A., Smith J., Glickman E., Spitznagel M.B., Alexander T., Juvancic-Heltzel J., Murray L. Serum brain-derived neurotrophic factor is associated with cognitive function in healthy older adults. J Geriatr Psychiatry Neurol. 2008 Sep;21(3):166-70.

Sampaio TB, Savall AS, Gutierrez MEZ, Pinton S. Neurotrophic factors in Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases: implications for pathogenesis and therapy. Neural Regen Res. 2017 Apr;12(4):549-557.

Buchman AS, Yu L, Boyle PA, Schneider JA, De Jager PL, Bennett DA. Bennett. Higher brain BDNF gene expression is associated with slower cognitive decline in older adults. Neurology. 2016 Feb 23;86(8):735-41

Budni J, Bellettini-Santos T, Mina F, Garcez ML, Zugno A. The involvement of BDNF, NGF and GDNF in aging and Alzheimer’s disease. Aging Dis. 2015 Oct 1;6(5):331-41.

Yogesh Dwivedi. Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor and Suicide Pathogenesis. Ann Med. 2010 Mar; 42(2): 87–96.

Varela-Nallar L, Aranguiz FC, Abbott AC, Slater PG, Inestrosa NC. Adult hippocampal neurogenesis in aging and Alzheimer’s disease. Birth Defects Res C Embryo Today. 2010 Dec;90(4):284-96.

Hollands C, Bartolotti N, Lazarov O. Alzheimer’s Disease and Hippocampal Adult Neurogenesis; Exploring Shared Mechanisms. Front Neurosci. 2016 May 3;10:178.

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Bartosz Dziemidowicz is a biologist & a homeopath. We discuss the implications of neurodegenerative diseases and what we can be doing with homeopathy to help. Is homeopathy something that can help delay onset of inherited susceptibilities to specific disease?

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