Podcast Episode 71: A Western Perspective on PD: Understanding Complementary Medicine

When we think of medicine from a Western perspective, we often think of treatments including things such as drugs, surgical operations, or rehabilitation therapies like physical, occupational, or speech therapy. While these treatments may be coordinated by a neurology or movement disorders office, most often they are not.

However, in many Eastern cultures, medicine exists as integrated systems. For example, there is traditional Chinese medicine that considers a vital energy (“ch’i”) circulating in channels throughout the body, with disease seen as disharmony of the complementary aspects of yin and yang. This is addressed with the use of herbs, acupuncture, massage, exercise, dietary therapy, and other techniques aimed at restoring a healthy balance. Similarly, Indian Ayurvedic medicine is a holistic healing system based on the concept that health and wellness depend on a delicate balance among the mind, body, and spirit.

However, most if not all of the herbs, supplements, and other compounds that are sold in the West for use in traditional Ayurveda or Chinese medicine and alternative/complementary medicine in general are not tested by the Food and Drug Administration, or FDA, to be determined as safe, and they may not even contain what they are purported to be. In this episode, Dr. Benzi Kluger, Professor and neuropalliative care specialist at the University of Rochester, a Parkinson’s Foundation Center of Excellence, discusses complementary/alternative medicine from a Western perspective, with an eye on what may be safe to try, as well as some cautions.

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About This Episode

Released: December 31, 2019

Benzi Kluger, MD, MS, FAAN

BKlugerBenzi Kluger is a Professor of Neurology and Medicine and the founding Director of the Division of Neuropalliative Care and the Palliative Care Research Center at the University of Rochester in New York where he recently moved. He is internationally recognized for his pioneering efforts to bring a palliative care approach to improve outcomes for persons affected by neurologic illnesses. He also pursues research to improve therapies for nonmotor symptoms in Parkinson's disease, particularly fatigue and cognitive impairment. His research has been funded by the National Institutes of Health, the Patient Centered Outcomes Research Institute, the Michael J Fox Foundation, and the Department of Defense.

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