The last three weeks have been hell. My dad, who has Parkinson’s Syndrome, has been in steep decline over the last three months. On Monday I took him to a new neurologist. She described his extraordinarily steep decline as unusual and atypical, although she recently had another patient who experienced the same pattern of steep decline.
On Tuesday my dad was hospitalized because he couldn’t move. The hospital staff at Banner Thunderbird in Glendale AZ told me that they couldn’t admit or treat Parkinson’s patients because Medicare doesn’t recognize this as a treatment category for hospitalization. I was furious and told the staff that he had experienced a very precipitous decline over 10 hours and that he needed to be evaluated to determine what was happening. The hospital staff held him for 24 hours before releasing him, leaving me to scramble to find placement for someone now too impaired to live in his assisted living facility.
I would describe my experience at Banner Thunderbird as ORGANIZED, INHUMANE INSANITY. The problem was the system had no way of recognizing or treating the special needs of patients with neurological disorders. Treatment was refused because the disorder of Parkinsons is not recognized as a condition requiring hospitalization, even when patients experience extraordinarily atypical symptoms. I could go on but the experience is still to painful to recount fully.
The unresolved question is why the sudden and unusual decline? I believe it is because of the bio-accumulation of radionuclides from Fukushima.
In the spring of 2011, I spoke to the person who conducts Arizona’s radiation testing. He works for the state lab, not the EPA. They do not release their test results. However, during our conversation he told me he had measured radiation at the level of 50 picocuries a liter in fresh Arizona milk.
In 1962, Harold Knapp described how radioiodine from a single deposition in pasture-land bioaccumulates and biomagnifies, producing substantial and injurious radiation doses for children consuming milk.[i]
Milk is hardly the only source of exposure. If radionuclides were in milk, they were also in food crops grown in the state.
Unfortunately, human bodies bioaccumulate radionuclides such as radio-iodine, cesium, strontium, uranium, and plutonium.
Even more unfortunately, strontium and cesium can cross the blood-brain barrier and be stored in the brain for mobilization in the brain’s calcium-ion channels.
The brain is radio-sensitive:
“The brain has been described as a radiosensitive biochemical system and many changes in brain neurochemistry have been observed after irradiation”
(SOURCE: Obenaus, Mickley, Bogo, West, and Raber ‘Behavioral and Neurophysiological Consequences of Radiation Exposure’ in Medical Consequences of Radiological and Nuclear Weapons, http://www.cs.amedd.army.mil/borden/FileDownloadpublic.aspx?docid=2562a36d-571b-4af9-91c5-098947cb57f2).Radiation causes inflammation in the brain and it is hypothesized that radiation impacts the functional properties of neurons (p. 143 from source above)
Radiation causes damage to mitochondria and to cellular membranes in the brain (p. 143)
Brain changes from radiation exposure are often delayed and the “latency period for the appearance of radiation damage in the nervous system is simply longer than in other organ systems.” (p. 133)
Some brain areas are more radiosensitive than others. For example, the hypothalamus is very radiosensitive and changes after irradiation persist longer than in some other areas. (p. 134)
It is hypothesized that radiation:
1. Acts primarily on the vascular system, “with necrosis secondary to edema and ischemia.”
2. Has primary effect on the cells of the neural parenchyma (p. 134), resulting in a breakdown of the blood-brain barrier, among other dysfunctions.
a. The neural parenchyma is the functional tissue in the brain and is distinguished from the stroma, which is the supportive or structural tissue. The parenchyma consists of neurons and glial cells. Interference with glial cells results in a breakdown of the blood-brain barrio (http://www.wisegeek.org/what-is-the-brain-parenchyma.htm).
Some of the effects of radiation-induced damage to the neural parenchyma may include the following:
1.) Alterations in the capacity to generate new neurons and loss of existing neurons in the dentate gyrus
2.) Alterations in receptors for learning and memory
3.) Alterations in neuronal signaling
4.) Alterations in oxidative stress
5.) Genetic risk factors (p. 139)
6.) Radiation-induced demyelination (p. 145)
3. Iradiation causes changes in neurotransmitter systems, particularly DOPAMINE, which is a type of catecholamine. Here is a definition from Wikipedia of catecholamine:
A catecholamine (CA) is a monoamine, an organic compound that has a catechol (benzene with two hydroxyl side groups) and a side-chain amine.Catecholamine is very radio-sensitive (p. 147). The production and uptake of dopamine, as a type of catecholamine, are very radio-sensitive.
Catechol is a chemical, but catechol may also be used as the name of a substituent, where it represents a 1,2-dihydroxybenzene group.
Catecholamines derive from the amino acid tyrosine. Catecholamines are water-soluble and are 50%-bound to plasma proteins when they circulate in the bloodstream.
In the human body, the most abundant catecholamines are epinephrine (adrenaline), norepinephrine (noradrenaline) and dopamine, all of which are produced from phenylalanine and tyrosine. Release of the hormones epinephrine and norepinephrine from the adrenal medulla of the adrenal glands is part of the fight-or-flight response. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Catecholamine)
Parkinsons is a disease of dopamine dysfunction as the receptors die off. The brain is a radio-sensitive organ and dopamine, as a catecholamine, is particularly affected after irradiation.
I will never be able to prove that Fukushima fallout increased my father’s rate of decline. However, I am very strongly convinced that it did. I believe that increased background radiation, combined with bio-accumulation of radionuclides such as cesium and strontium, increased the neurological rate of decline in my father's brain.
I anticipate the American health care system is going to be overwhelmed and the response is going to be even worse than the organized insanity I experienced this week at Banner Thunderbird in Glendale Arizona.
[i] S. Kirsch (2004) ‘Harold Knapp and the Geography of Normal Controversy: Radioiodine in the Historical Environment’, Osiris, 19, 167-181.