Rick...looks like maybe we were not crazy to think endocrine system. Even if this turns out whack, I could hug the researcher for their bravery in writing this:
For the past 40 years the primary purpose of therapeutics for Parkinson's disease (PD) has been to replace deficient dopamine (DA) in the nigrostriatal dopamine (NSD) system. Even in the presence of limited efficacy, abundant side effects and impoverished quality of life, the involvement of other systems in the aetiology and treatment of this disorder has been sorely neglected and the excessive use of DA replacement therapy (DART) continues on a global basis.
Parkinson's disease as a neuroendocrine disorder of circadian function: dopamine-melatonin imbalance and the visual system in the genesis and progression of the degenerative process. 2008
A historical justification for and retrospective analysis of the systematic application of light therapy in Parkinson's disease. 2012
Willis GL, Moore C, Armstrong SM.
What I find really compelling is that they name the retina as a key player in the etiology of the disease and focus on our circadian rhythm as important as well- could this be related to Vitamin D deficiencies.
This hits really to what is known about Prion Disease in animals. Not only does it eminently impact their circadian cycle; there is also the belief that the diseases like Chronic Wasting Disease, Bovine Encephelopahy, and Scrapies have their origin in the retina!! An organic farmer turned amateur scientist postulate all this in the early early part of the last decade (2001-2006). He believed that PD, AD, MS, ALS were all extensions of animal prion disease involving toxins (insecticides) disrupting the metal homeostasis in our brains, thus triggering protein misfolding and cellular dysfunction or death. Further he has visited clusters of animal disease outbreaks and human neurodegenerative disease clusters and backs what he is saying.
Prion Metabolic link to the circadian cycle....Mark Purdey (farmer-scientist)
This means that if they could ever think to develop this further we could be treated through iron chelation and as this author suggests something as easy as bright light therapy for starters.
The light therapy is something we can easily do! I need to know parameters of this study for beneficial levels of exposure so plan to actually fork over the moolah for this study. If it can slow progression, it will be the wisest $30 ever spent. If you guys want, I will share the light therapy details.
Meanwhile, the jury is out on melatonin. Willis says we have too much and others too little; what else is new? I just want to try the light therapy; the melatonin can wait for now.
Here is a good review of role melatonin may play in PD. It is full text and explains how melatonin is likely involved.
Therapeutic potential of melatonin and its analogs in Parkinson's disease: focus on sleep and neuroprotection. 2011