First, is finasteride capable of producing demyelination in any other part of the nervous system besides the area of the spinal cord Alex mentioned? For example, could it affect the inner ear or related cranial nerves leading to tinnitus and/or hearing loss?
We don't know if Finasteride did in fact cause selective demyelination, that is simply a hypothesis which will likely remain unproven unless numerous men get MRIs of the anterior, lateral and posterior horn to check for MS-lesions which turn up similar results.
None of us are medical professionals so cannot answer with certainty wether "other parts of nervous system besides spinal cord" were affected... that would take more research. That said, since GABA-A receptors in the brain are involved in tinnitus, and loss of Allopregnanolone can interfere with GABA-A/CNS function, there may very well be a connection to be made there.
Are there any other known areas of the nervous system that could be affected by this same process? Or do you believe occurrences of tinnitus in fin users are related to some other factor than demyelination?
Same question, answers above.
2nd question -- low GABA level was mentioned as one side effect of fin use. Could GABA supplements like these be useful as part of the recovery process? Would there be any downside or risk to using them besides some sedative-like effects?
GABA supplements do not cross the blood brain barrier and thus will have little, if any effect on receptor remodeling or agonist activities. On the other hand, pharmaceutical substances like benzodiazepines and barbiturates can cross the blood brain barrier and thus affect GABA-A directly. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/GABA_agonist
Wether such substances have any permanent impact on "recovery" is unknown, but if they can affect and remodel GABA-A receptor plasticity and function in the brain, there certainly can be consequences from use. There have been a few users on this forum (ie, "ithappens") who have reported use of Xyrem (GHB) improved their cognitive symptoms due to enhanced sleep quality, however others did not find success. As with anything, there are potential side effects to useage, especially longterm.
Finally, such substances do not necessarily address the Allopregnanolone-demyelination theory in 5AR2 dependendant tissues (ie, spinal cord), as they specifically target GABA-A receptors throughout the entire brain... this is different than targetting 5AR2-specific areas where selective demyelination may have occured (ie, axons & neuronal growth/function, myelin sheath) as their mechanism of action targets something else entirely (GABA-A).
Instead, as Alex notes, Progesterone has been shown to positively influence re-myelination; unfortunately, it is a feminizing hormone in males and is often given to sexual predators in prison to chemically castrate them/cause loss of libido. If you're interested, do some research on Progesterone and myelin, you'll get more info.http://www.google.ca/search?hl=en&sourc ... elin+repaihttp://scholar.google.ca/scholar?hl=en& ... a=N&tab=ws
The best natural alternative would probably be supplementing with Omega 3s (fish oil) to assist with neuronal repair (and alleviate depression), since the brain and neuronal health relies heavily on essential fatty acids.
Some dosing ranges can be found on page 10, for use in depression:
Neurobehavioral aspects of omega-3 fatty acids: possible mechanisms and therapeutic value in major depressionhttp://www.thorne.com/altmedrev/.fulltext/8/4/410.pdf
Limited clinical data, combined with rapidly growing support of laboratory and epidemiological studies, suggest omega-3 fatty acids may play a role in the prevention and management of depression. Fish oil supplements are usually well tolerated, with an impressive longterm safety record at doses of 1 g daily.
... Supplementation with marine extracts that contain EPA, DHA, and phospholipids is an area warranting further investigation. For now, the bulk of clinical evidence indicates the EPA component of fish oils may be most important in mood stability, and that relatively low levels are required (1 g daily) for successful outcomes
It should be noted that administration of omega-3 fatty acids, most often via high doses of flaxseed oil, may induce hypomania, mania, or other behavioral changes in a small percentage (less than 3%) of individuals.
Consumption of Fish and n-3 Fatty Acids and Risk of Incident Alzheimer Disease http://archneur.ama-assn.org/cgi/conten ... t/60/7/940
Background Dietary n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids improve brain functioning in animal studies, but there is limited study of whether this type of fat protects against Alzheimer disease.
Objective To examine whether fish consumption and intake of different types of n-3 fatty acids protect against Alzheimer disease.
Design Prospective study conducted from 1993 through 2000, of a stratified random sample from a geographically defined community. Participants were followed up for an average of 3.9 years for the development of Alzheimer disease.
Patients A total of 815 residents, aged 65 to 94 years, who were initially unaffected by Alzheimer disease and completed a dietary questionnaire on average 2.3 years before clinical evaluation of incident disease.
Main Outcome Measure Incident Alzheimer disease diagnosed in a structured neurologic examination by means of standardized criteria.
Results A total of 131 sample participants developed Alzheimer disease. Participants who consumed fish once per week or more had 60% less risk of Alzheimer disease compared with those who rarely or never ate fish (relative risk, 0.4; 95% confidence interval, 0.2-0.9) in a model adjusted for age and other risk factors
. Total intake of n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids was associated with reduced risk of Alzheimer disease, as was intake of docosahexaenoic acid (22:6n-3). Eicosapentaenoic acid (20:5n-3) was not associated with Alzheimer disease. The associations remained unchanged with additional adjustment for intakes of other dietary fats and of vitamin E and for cardiovascular conditions.
Conclusion Dietary intake of n-3 fatty acids and weekly consumption of fish may reduce the risk of incident Alzheimer disease
Effects of dietary omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids on brain gene expressionhttp://www.pnas.org/content/101/30/10931.abstract
... We conclude that PUFA-enriched diets lead to significant changes in expression of several genes in the central nervous tissue, and these effects appear to be mainly independent of their effects on membrane composition. The direct effects of PUFA on transcriptional modulators, the downstream developmentally and tissue-specifically activated elements might be one of the clues to understanding the beneficial effects of the omega-3 PUFA on the nervous system
Effect of dietary advice and n-3 supplementation in newly diagnosed MS patients
. http://pt.wkhealth.com/pt/re/molm/abstr ... 29!8091!-1
Objective: To investigate whether supplementation with fish oil given together with dietary advice and vitamin supplementation influenced the clinical outcome in newly diagnosed multiple sclerosis (MS) patients.
Material and methods: Sixteen consecutive, newly diagnosed patients with multiple sclerosis were recruited to an open intervention study. They were given dietary advice and supplemented with 0.9 g/day of long-chain marine fatty acids
and vitamins. The patients were followed for 2 years with respect to dietary habits, blood parameters and neurological assessment including exacerbation rate.
Results: There was a significant reduction in the mean annual exacerbation rate and the mean Expanded Disability Status Scale (EDSS) as compared to pre-study values. The plasma total phospholipid n-3 fatty acids increased and n-6 fatty acids decreased significantly.
Conclusions: The results suggest that fish oil supplementation given together with vitamins and dietary advice can improve clinical outcome in patients with newly diagnosed MS