Who is John Pepper?
I was born in 1934, in the English town of Harrow, which is famous for its public School. Harrow is now inside Greater London, but in those days, it was north of London. I started my schooling at the age of four, in Harrow. The Second World War started in 1939, before I turned five. I moved around a bit, due to the bombing, and had a narrow escape in 1940, when a landmine was dropped in the back garden of my home, and landed in a thick hawthorn hedge, and failed to explode. Had it exploded, I would not be here to tell the tale. My parents decided to leave Harrow in 1942, and moved to the country, away from the bombing. I went to nine different schools, before I gained entrance to another public school, in Winchester, at the age of ten, after passing a scholarship. I was then, at least two years younger than most of the boys in the class. That turned out to be a major mistake in my education. I found it impossible to settle amongst those, much older boys, and consequently became a loner, mainly due to the bullying I continuously endured for the first two years. I finished school at the age of sixteen, when my father thought that I was old enough to help support my family.
My first job was as an office boy in a bank in Winchester. After one year, I applied for a transfer to an overseas branch of the bank, which turned out to be in Johannesburg, South Africa. There I worked for a further four years, during which I passed all but two of the exams for my Institute of Banker’s Diploma. My elder brother persuaded me to join his employers, Burroughs Machines Ltd, selling adding machines. I did not enjoy selling, but finished up in that company, running the third branch I had established, in the city of Kimberley, which is famous for its diamonds. There I married Shirley Hitchcock, and we had two children. In 1963, I started a new printing business, in partnership with Eric Sulter. That business grew very quickly, until I moved to Johannesburg in 1970, where I started another continuous stationery printing business, while Eric continued to run the Kimberley company.
My Parkinson’s symptoms started in 1963, when I found that I was unable to throw a ball properly. I had never had this problem before, but did not talk to anybody about it. This was followed very quickly by other symptoms, such as the inability to write properly, constipation and chest infections. Then in the seventies I suffered from chronic depression and speech problems, together with other movement problems, such as dropping things and spilling my food. I was finally diagnosed with Parkinson’s in 1992, when I had started to walk badly, while dragging one leg and shuffling my feet.
In 1960, I had an accident, on-stage, lifting a dancer. I prolapsed a disc in my lower back. After ten years of pain and suffering, I was advised to do exercise to strengthen my back muscles. This helped me overcome the back problems, until 1977, when I had the offending disc removed. From then onwards, right up till today, I have done regular exercise, mainly aerobic walking these days. I also have been going to the gym, on and off for over forty years. I am not a lover of exercise, but I am very grateful for what it has done for me, since I started in 1970.
There were three unusual situations regarding my Pd history. I was bodily, very fit, which was not very common amongst Pd patients at the time of diagnosis; In 1994 I was prescribed a monotherapy of an MAO-b inhibitor, which stops the natural breakdown of dopamine, in the brain, which gives us the use of a greater amount of our own dopamine; I did not take any levodopa medication after the first two years of being diagnosed, which was extremely unusual; I gave up my high-powered job within three months of diagnosis, which relieved me of an enormous amount of stress; Many patients are not in the position to lose a large amount of their monthly income, as I was prepared to do.
All three of these circumstances have been responsible, in my opinion, for my good health today. Energetic exercise causes the brain to produce a substance called GDNF (Glial Derived Neurotrophic Factor), which repairs the damaged brain cells. This was proved by scientists and announced to the Parkinson’s world in 2006, in Washington DC, at the 1st World Parkinson's Cingress. The medication has also been independently proven to help slow down or even reverse Parkinson’s. From this you will see that doctors and scientists have known for many years that there is a lot we can do to help us overcome Pd. It does not appear to be in their interests to tell us this.
Because I no longer need to take any Patrkinson;'s medication and I live a normal life, I feel that I have to tell the world about my good fortune, and hope that others will follow in my footsteps. I am now seventy-nine, in 2014 and hope to live a normal life for many more years to come.
John Pepper 2014
The Five Most Important Actions Needed to Take Control of Parkinson’s Disease
I am not a doctor, I am a Parkinson’s Patient with 51 years of experience. These are the actions, which have helped me:
1. Regular Energetic Exercise
2. An MAO-b Inhibitor as the only Medication
3. Learn how to Take Conscious Control of all movements
4. Manage Stress Levels
5. Adopt a Positive Attitude
Procedure Could Help Local Patients Beat Parkinson's Disease
Copied from The Northwest Parkinson’s Foundation Weekly News Update
NBC 7 San Diego - Researchers hope a procedure using patients' own stem cells will cure Parkinson's Disease, or at least eliminate symptoms for decades.
Eight patients have joined the project at Scripps Research Institute in La Jolla to take part in the initial trial. Before they are able to proceed, they must get funding and obtain approval from the Food and Drug Administration.
"We're all treading water until the funds can be found and the hoops that the FDA give us can be jumped through," said Cassandra Peters, who was a paralegal at a law firm until 2005, when the symptoms of Parkinson's made it too difficult to work. She was diagnosed at age 44, 13 years ago.
The planned procedure entails taking a skin sample from the patients, then creating pluripotent stem cells with the genetic material. Millions of stem cells will then be injected into the brain to create dopamine neurons, which are destroyed by Parkinson's disease.
It's a technique discovered by Japanese researcher Shinya Yamanaka who won the Nobel Prize in Medicine in 2012.
Jeanne Loring, Ph.D., Director of the Center of Stem Cell Research at the Scripps Research Institute said similar work has been done in the past.
"There was work done in the 1980s and early 1990s in which fetal tissue was transplanted into the brains of people with Parkinson's disease," Loring said.
She said the problem was that fetal tissue produced inconsistent results.Loring believes using pluripotent stem cells derived from the same patient in which the cells will be transplanted will be much more reliable.
"The thing about Parkinson's Disease is there's really only one nerve cell type that needs to be replaced, and we know exactly where to put it," Loring said.
That confidence has been passed to the patients in this project who, unlike many other research projects, have been very involved in the process-- meeting with scientists and researchers in the laboratory.
"If this procedure works, and I know that it will, it will be the answer to so many people's prayers," Peters said.
Funding for the procedure remains a challenge as the government has not provided any grants for the project. Patients have been taking matters into their own hands, raising money for the non-profit Summit 4 Stem Cell, which hopes that Parkinson's victims' hike to Mount Everest base camp can help raise money for this initial procedure.
Edward Fitzpatrick, who was diagnosed with Parkinson's nearly seven years ago, said the group has raised nearly one million dollars and needs to raise $1.5 million more to perform the procedure on the initial test group.
The Food and Drug Administration must also give its approval. Dr. Loring said there were no set requirements from the regulatory group, but researchers are working closely with the FDA to reach a solution.
Obama plans push to map brain
Copied from The Northwest Parkinson’s Foundation Weekly News Update
President Obama will announce a $100 million initiative to map human brain circuits in research that could lead to treatments for such conditions as Alzheimer’s, epilepsy and traumatic brain injury.
JAMES GORMANJOHN MARKOFF
Seattle Times - President Obama on Tuesday will announce a broad new research initiative, starting with $100 million in 2014, to invent and refine new technologies to understand the human brain, senior administration officials said Monday.
A senior administration scientist compared the new initiative to the Human Genome Project, in that it is directed at a problem that has seemed insoluble up to now: the recording and mapping of brain circuits in action in an effort to “show how millions of brain cells interact.”
The effort will require the development of new tools not yet available to neuroscientists and, eventually, perhaps lead to progress in treating conditions like Alzheimer’s, epilepsy and traumatic brain injury. It will involve both government agencies and private institutions.
The initiative, which scientists involved in promoting the idea have been calling the Brain Activity Map project, will officially be known as Brain Research Through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies, or BRAIN for short; it has been designated a grand challenge of the 21st century by the Obama administration.
Three government agencies will be involved: the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency and the National Science Foundation.
A working group at the NIH, described by the officials as a “dream team,” and led by Cori Bargmann of Rockefeller University and William Newsome of Stanford University, will be charged with coming up with a plan, a time frame, specific goals and cost estimates for future budgets.
Brain researchers can now insert wires in the brains of animals, and sometimes human beings, to record the electrical activity of brain cells called neurons, as they communicate with each other. But, Newsome said, they can record at most hundreds at a time.
New technology and new theoretical approaches would need to be developed to record thousands or hundreds of thousands of neurons at once, Newsome said.
Parkinson's Insights – My Story Part 1
There is no doubt that, contrary to established thinking, the progression of Parkinson’s disease, can be reversed. Although it has not been done by very many people, the fact remains that I've done it, and many others have followed, and will continue to follow.
My name is John Pepper and I have successfully reversed my Parkinson’s disease, to the point where I no longer need to take any Parkinson’s disease medication, since 2003, and nobody would ever know that I still have Parkinson’s disease.
How did I do this?
My case was quite unique, for the three following reasons:
My neurologist had prescribed a monotherapy of a unique type of Parkinson’s disease medication, which was the only medication that the manufacturers claimed - as a result of conducting extensive double-blind scientific studies on a wide range of patients – could possibly slow down or even reverse the progression of this condition. I know of nobody else, who has only been prescribed this type of medication and nothing else.
I was in the habit of doing regular energetic exercise, for over twenty years, before I was first diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease. I was therefore bodily very fit, which was not a unique occurrence amongst newly diagnosed patients, but it was, and is, not the norm; especially as it was accompanied by reason number one. I have continued to do rigorous exercise, since I was diagnosed, which is not common amongst Parkinson's patients at all.
I gave up my high-powered job, three months after I was diagnosed. I was aware that my job had become very stressful to me and I would have done anything at that stage to help me cope with the Pd. I also stopped singing in the church choir. It was not just the services that ate into my time it was all the rehearsals and the travelling to get there and back that was the problem. I wanted to simplify my life. I also left my Rotary club, which was not a burden, but I did not want to be amember who did nothing active in the club. Stress is one of the major triggers for many health issues. It affects many of my symptoms.
The combination of a Monotherapy of a special type of medication, regular energetic exercise and the management of stress, all urned out to be the crucial changes I had made in my lifestyle that have reversed the progression of my Pd, and they made my circumstances unique.
In addition to these three unusual circumstances, I made the following changes to my life style, during the next eight years, after diagnosis:
I decided to change my type of exercise.
I learned how to control my movements by focusing my full attention on controlling each movement!
I examined and changed my whole attitude.
After having given up my job, and having experienced the huge improvement in my health, I came to the realization that ‘Stress’ had played a major roll in the progression of my Parkinson’s disease.
Many people ask me about diet. I have found only one food item that must not be eaten by Parkinson’s disease sufferers and several other interesting substances that should be avoided.
Two years after my diagnosis, I realized that I had to learn to manage my sleeping problems.
The last change I made to my lifestyle was to start doing regular brain exercises.
I hope you have found this Insight helpful.