Did you know iron is one of the most abundant metals on earth and essential to human health?

Most iron is stored in the red blood cell protein called “hemoglobin” that delivers oxygen to tissues, and some is found in “myoglobin”, a protein that supplies oxygen to the muscles.

Iron is an essential component of proteins involved in oxygen transport, and it is involved in regulating cell growth and differentiation. However, like everything, balanced iron levels are important… too little iron limits oxygen delivery to cells, decreasing immunity and resulting in fatigue, while too much can cause toxicity and death!

In Parkinson’s disease, symptoms are primarily caused by declining dopamine producing cells in the brain. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that allows messages to be transmitted from the substantia nigra, the part of the brain that helps control and coordinate movement to the muscles.  The symptoms of Parkinson’s appear when about 80 per cent of these dopamine-producing cells are lost.

New research shows excessive iron in the brain has been linked to the death of dopamine-producing brain cells in Parkinson’s disease. New MRI imaging technology developed by Dr. Rauscher and his lab at UBC has enabled researcher to correlate overall iron content in the substantia nigra and disease severity, as measured by a tool called the Unified Parkinson’s Disease Rating Scale (UPDRS).

Using this MRI technique to detect elevated iron content in the substantia nigra, or other brain regions, would provide a new measurement that could lead to earlier diagnosis of Parkinson’s.

images demonstrate increased distribution of pixels with short effective T2 (here less than 46 msec) in brain of dementia patient as compared to normal volunteer. Brain iron distribution is an attractive potential biomarker for neurodegeneration as it is already present behind the blood-brain-barrier and it is well demonstrated by high field MRI.

It’s amazing to think of all the work happening behind the scenes to help improve early diagnosis in PD, since early diagnosis can help prescribe a better course of treatment. You can read the whole article here : Dr. Rauscher at UBC imaging advances in PD (Rauscher) – hospitalnews.com. Much love.


Last Saturday the Parkinson Society Canada held their annual Superwalk to raise money and awareness for Parkinson’s disease.

The totals are still being tallied, but in BC we are up to $267,000 and counting as we wait for two more Walks this weekend – Salmon Arm and Trail! Way to go B.C.!

Kelowna had a successful year, much of it do to it’s dedicated organizer and amazing community involvement! … and it looks like they had a beautiful day for a walk, and word it the official count for Kelowna is over $40,000!

Parkinson's Superwalk, Kelowna BC Sept/2011. photo courtesy of PSBC

 Payment of pledges and further donations can still be made online at http://www.parkinson.bc.ca/superwalk, or sent directly to PSBC at 600-890 West Pender St, Vancouver BC V6C 1J9. All pledges and donations can be submitted up to OCTOBER 4, 2011… so, whatdya waiting for?

… so, while the Parkinson community across the country was holding it’s Superwalk, I was off on my own “superwalk”. Sept 4th we set out from Bamfield to hike the West Coast Trail (WCT). It is a 75-km trek along the coast of Vancouver Island. This multi-day hike (we took 6 and enjoyed the views along the way!) takes you through…

old growth forest

coastal beaches

knee-deep mud pits & tree roots

and dizzying sets of ladders

… but the amazing scenery makes it all worthwhile!

… and reaching the end is pretty sweet too!

who knew, walking can help cure disease and is good for the spirit… especially when you do it with amazing group of people! Don’t forget to check out Parkinson’s superwalk and donate today! much love.

hope for PD genetics

here’s is a short news clip from Global BC documenting the work of Dr. Ferrer at UBC.

use this link to watch the video… (sorry, can’t figure out how to embed a video from global TV!)


It’s a positive message inspiring hope for a cure for PD, using genetic research, in our lifetime.

Recently, Dr. Ferrer has implicated another gene in PD. When cells are stressed, this gene normally makes a protein which helps recycle cell waste. However, in PD, this gene doesn’t do it’s job and “junk” builds up. This can help explain the role of “Lewy bodies” in PD, which are collections of discarded protein that remain trapped in certain brain cells.

enjoy! much love

p.s. been doing lots of walking this past week, which is why I haven’t been posting… lots of adventures to share!