Was this patient's long history of meditation a factor in the remission of his PD?

This morning while browsing through my daily Google alert on news about Parkinson's disease, I came across this reference:

"A potential case of remission of Parkinson's disease


That of course grabbed my attention. I clicked on the link and found it referred to a PubMed report on the case of a 78-year-old male who, 16 years ago, was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease by a neurologist. He initially showed left hand tremor, stooping posture, shuffling gait, and frequent falls, which eventually progressed to bilateral motor symptoms after three years.

Since 2012, his symptoms and signs have almost completely remitted, and he has been off all pharmacotherapy for that time. The accuracy of the initial PD diagnosis is supported by appropriate clinical presentation, history of positive response to Sinemet (i.e. carbidopa levodopa) , and an abnormal SPECT DaT scan.

This case therefore suggests the possibility of remission of symptoms in some patients. The authors propose that the patient's long history of meditation practice may have been one contributing factor of this improvement, since meditation has been shown to release dopamine in the striatum.

I'll certainly try to find out more about this. Meanwhile, I'll spend more time meditating.

12 Replies

  • My neurologist recommended meditation at our very first appointment, before I even had the first DaTscan. She's very sharp, and tends to have a curious mind, pursuing all leads, both anecdotal and scientifically researched. But I never did. I think I need to really apply myself. Thanks for the post -- much appreciated!

  • I would like to know much more about his practice of meditation, such as religious tradition followed (if any), use of mantra or affirmation, duration of daily practice, etc. Right now, only the abstract of the article has been published, which contains exactly the info that you quote. We are awaiting access--preferably free!--to the full article where the patient will, we hope, reveal more.

  • Dumpelkin, you should be able to open the article at sci-hub.biz

  • Terrific resource--thank you! Here then, for everyone, is the full article:


    You can read on pp. 3-5 a full discussion of the patient's meditation practice, and various guesses as to how it may have facilitated his healing via brain anatomy.

    It is noted that he has been well and drug-free for the last 4 years:

    "The patient has been off all anti-parkinsonian pharmacotherapy since 2012 with no clear symptoms or signs of PD."

    There follows this description of the patient's practice:

    "The patient meditates for at least 30 minutes daily using a practice called "centering prayer”, which he learned during his brief time as a postulate in a Franciscan monastery, 37 years ago. In this technique, he focuses his mind on a single religious word to reach a meditative state. He states that he feels less “PD-like” when he meditates so he began to reinvest energy in his meditation practice after his PD onset."

    The researchers then field a possible criticism of their "meditation-brought-the-cure" hypothesis, asking how he got PD in the first place in spite of 21 years of meditation prior to his diagnosis in 2000, They point out that he intensified his practice after the onset of PD. (We don't know when he retired, but if this took place soon after his diagnosis--at age 62--it would have enabled more regular, longer, and calmer meditation sessions by reducing time pressure.)

  • thank you for this post & the sci-hub hint is very useful, too!

  • It's sci-hub.bz not biz

  • thank you! sci-hub.cc works, too. "interesting" resource... ;-)

  • I agree. Before finding it here, I shelled out $42 for access! I touted sci-hub to my daughter who also liked it until she found this link:


    She works for a for-profit publisher and had this comment:

    "Much as I hate to pay for medical journals, my livelihood depends on publishing-for-profit enterprises and copyright protections, so I can’t really use a hacker site to get content for free … unless medical necessity overrides my conscience."

    Maybe she was suggesting I could use "medical necessity" out <grin>

  • haha, this is clearly a case of medical necessity overriding conscience :-)

    i hadn't heard about sci-hub before, but i know about the problems that mass downloads pose to libraries. i also know a little bit about the fees publishers charge... very good article - thank you.

  • Looking forward to hopefully hearing more about this.

  • Gwennie1, Please see my new post above for complete info.

  • Thank you.

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