Excellent presentation on PD history & genetics

Here is a link to the Royal Society’s 2018 Francis Crick lecture, delivered by Dr Miratul Muqit. Thanks to one of the blog readers who told me about this excellent lecture, entitled Parkinson’s disease: decoding the mysteries of neurodegeneration.

There is one statement about PD which is completely wrong, and it is relevant to red/near infrared lights. Read on.

Dr Muqit explains why PD is one of the leading causes of disability.

He then gives the most fantastic summary of how understanding about PD has increased, from 1817 when Dr James Parkinson first described this condition, until right now – with the extremely complex but fascinating discoveries of the many gene mutations that can give rise to the condition.

The most interesting part came around the 29 minute mark, when Dr Muqit started talking about the mitochondria, the cell battery.

It seems that the thing that starts it all is when the mitochondria stops being healthy. In normal, healthy cells, if the mitochondria starts to conk out, the cell activates sleeper enzymes called PINK1 and Parkin. These enzymes then crank into action to get rid of the mitochondria. That’s good, it seems. If you have a cell with a miserable mitochondria, the cell can get rid of the useless mitochondria and start again.

In people with PD, when the mitochondria start to go awry, the initial reaction is the same. The enzymes PINK1 and Parkin get woken up, the cell expecting them to get rid of the failing mitochondria. But mutations in PINK1, and often in other cell proteins stop PINK1 and its friends from being able to get rid of the sick mitochondria.

Even worse, the mutations result in the PINK1 and its mates making the mitochondria even more miserable. Once this messed-up mutant PINK1 has started mucking things up, the cell has no chance to save itself, and it dies.

It seems that the cells in the Substantia Nigra that generate Dopamine for the brain have to work much harder than the average neuron. Dopamine must be heavy duty stuff, requiring a lot of energy to produce. This makes them more susceptible to the effect of the mutant PINK1 and other mutant entities in the cell.

Around the 32 minute mark, Dr Muqit states: As a neuron, you don’t have the capacity to renew. Those neurons have to survive as long as we do.”

Not so.

Research work by the Benabid/Mitrofanis collaboration showed emphatically that 670nm light implants in laboratory animals with induced PD results in:

1. Full reversal of PD symptoms

2. Evidence of new neurons being formed and thriving in the Substantia Nigra.

3. No evidence of inflammation or adverse reaction in the tissue surrounding the red light implant.

Red light shining directly onto the cells in the Substantia Nigra results in Dopamine-making cells regenerating and resuming their normal function.

Currently we redlightsonthebrain people can only put red light on top of the head, and can’t pop an implant deep into the brain. Does this mean that Eliza, Cossack and its offshoots are useless?


More another time. Meanwhile, keep wearing your light hat, every day, preferably in the mornings.

Author: RedlightsontheBrain

Redlightsonthebrain is written by Catherine Hamilton, a retired doctor on behalf of Light Ahead Inc, a Tasmanian-based not-for-profit organisation. Light Ahead Inc aims to help people to learn about neurogenerative diseases and the practical, safe and scientifically-based things that may be able to help. Part of this is to provide low-cost access to red light devices, hence the DIY instructions on this blog. All sales of the Coronet red light device support the work of Light Ahead Inc.