I regularly get calls about Parkinson's disease, a chronic degenerative disease. Parkinson's brings rigidity, tremors, poor coordination, and unsteady gait. You get a mask-like face unable to show facial expressions. Until now, there wasn't any known cure for these terrible symptoms. But now there's strong evidence that the cause - and cure - of Parkinson's may be related to a simple mineral.

Purdue University recently reported that one cause of Parkinson's disease is too much manganese. Manganese is an essential mineral. However, like any good thing, too much can be toxic.

Manganese toxicity is common in the 450,000 welders in America. Millions more worldwide are at risk. Miners are also a great risk. One female Chinese mineworker suffered debilitating symptoms. She had lack of coordination, trouble walking and writing. She had a mask-like appearance caused by tense facial muscles.

Instead of giving her the typical Parkinson's drug levodopa, doctors administered the drug para-aminosalicylic (PAS). Doctors have used PAS for years as a second-line tuberculosis drug. But it now has a major new use.

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After receiving PAS, the woman's symptoms cleared in 1987. She had no further signs of the disease when re-examined during a follow-up examination in 2004. That's 17 years later! Unheard of for Parkinson's disease! She wasn't the only one. At least 80 others have also done well.

The mechanism of action is unknown. But we have some clues that are important. Parkinson's drugs, like levodopa don't improve Parkinson's patients with manganese exposure. The fact that this one does suggests that there may be reversible causes of Parkinson's. Researchers speculate that the drug may be a specific manganese chelator. If that's so, then could compounds like the chelator EDTA (which removes heavy metals) also do the trick?

No! PAS has one very important property that EDTA lacks. PAS can cross the blood brain barrier. EDTA doesn't. Manganese seems to be a specific toxin for basal ganglion neurons that control movement. But it may not kill the cells outright. When PAS gets rid of the manganese, it leaves the cells intact and allows them to be restored. PAS might also reduce inflammation, as it's similar in structure to aspirin.

Action to take: If you have Parkinson's disease, please take this information to your chelating physician. I don't care if you lack a history of manganese exposure. There's always the possibility of unknown exposure. You might have an individual hypersensitivity to levels that might not bother your neighbor. You might retain manganese like some people accumulate iron. Perhaps high "normal" levels can work synergistically with other chemical toxins to damage the sensitive neurons. We just don't know. But with a disease like Parkinson's, it's worth checking. PAS may offer hope for real improvement with a very difficult condition.

Ref: "Tuberculosis drug PAS may cure Parkinson's-like illness," Journal of Occupational Environmental Medicine, June 7, 2006, 15:37.

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