Parkinson’s Disease

Parkinson’s disease is a progressive disease with an insidious onset. It is also known as diopathic parkinsonism, primary parkinsonism, PD, or paralysis agitates. The disease is named after the English doctor James Parkinson, who published the first detailed description of the disorder in an essay on the Shaking Palsy in 1817. It usually occurs in people over 50 and affects more men than women. It is a degenerative disorder of the central nervous system. In particular nerve cells in the part of the Basal Ganglia called the substantia nigra degenerate. This reduces the production of dopamine and the number of connections between nerve cells in the Basal Ganglia. The cause of cell-death is unknown. Early in the course of the disease, the most obvious symptoms are movement related including shaking, rigidity, slowness and difficulty walking. Later, cognitive and behavioral problems may arise with dementia commonly occurring in the advanced stages of the disease. Other problems may be sensory, emotion or sleep related.

Parkinson’s Disease is idiopathic, meaning it has no known cause. In some atypical cases the origin is clearly genetic. One theory prevailing theory is that it is caused by an abnormal accumulation of a protein called synuclein. These deposits are called Lewy bodies and can develop in several regions of the brain and interfere with brain functions. These same synuclein build ups may be implicated in other disorders like Alzheimer’s.

Diagnosis can sometimes be difficult as many primary symptoms typically present themselves in older people as a natural part of aging.  Otherwise doctors try to eliminate exposure to toxins and certain drugs. Confirmation typically comes with a CT or MRI scan. Modern treatments encourage patients to remain active in their daily lives, exercise and simplify their environment. Pharmaceutical drugs used to supplement dopamine or control tremors have multiple adverse side effects and eventually become ineffective while many actually allow other diseases to develop.

Clinical Studies:

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