Parkinson's Disease

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Parkinson's Disease

10 facts about Parkinson’s diseaseParkinson’s disease is named after Dr James Parkinson (1755-1824), the doctor that first identified the condition.It is caused by the loss of brain cells (neurones) in a part of the brain called the substantia nigra, which produces the chemical messenger dopamine. As the cells die, less dopamine is produced and transported to the striatum, the area of the brain that co-ordinates movement. Symptoms develop when about 80% of dopamine has been lost.The reason that Parkinson’s disease develops is not known.Approximately 4 million people worldwide suffer from Parkinson’s disease. Around 120,000 people in the UK have the condition.The main symptoms of Parkinson’s disease are tremor, slowness of movement (bradykinesia) and muscle stiffness or rigidity.The National Institute for health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) published guidance on the treatment of Parkinson’s disease in June 2006.There is no cure for Parkinson’s disease, but treatments can help control the symptoms and maintain quality of life.Parkinson’s disease can be treated with a combination of drug treatments and other therapies, for example, speech therapy, physiotherapy.The risk of developing Parkinson’s disease increases with age. Symptoms usually occur after the age of 50.Around 1 in 20 people are diagnosed under the age of 40 years.

Which initial therapies are effective for Parkinson disease?


Parkinson's Disease

What is Parkinson Disease?

Parkinson disease is common, but it can be difficult to diagnose. This is especially true in the early stages or in older people. A doctor will make a diagnosis after a complete medical history, review of the symptoms, and a detailed neurological exam.Your doctor will try to find out if the symptoms are due to Parkinson disease or another condition that has similar symptoms. According to good evidence,* history of falls, no tremor, rapid progression of the symptoms, and no affect of drugs on Parkinson-like symptoms may be signs of a similar condition, not Parkinson disease.Certain drugs are probably useful in confirming if a person has Parkinson disease versus another condition. This is called a “challenge test.” If symptoms get better while taking the drugs, the person may have Parkinson disease. The experts found there is good evidence* two drugs are probably useful in diagnosing Parkinson disease:Levodopa is a naturally occurring amino acid that thebrain converts to dopamine.Apomorphine is a man-made form of morphine. It actslike dopamine and stimulates the dopamine system.Your doctor may also use other tests. There is good evidence* that for some patients a smell test can help doctors decide if a person has Parkinson disease versus another condition.At this time there is not enough evidence* for or against the use of brain scans, blood tests, or other tests to diagnose Parkinson disease.


The Doctors:Parkinson's Disease

Shaking (tremor)StiffnessShuffling walkSlowness of movementsBalance problemsSmall or cramped handwritingLoss of facial expressionSoft, muffled speech 


Parkinson disease usually progresses slowly. Doctors cannot estimate exactly how quickly or slowly it will progress in a patient. This will vary from person to person. However, good evidence* shows that Parkinson disease may progress more quickly in people who are older when symptoms begin.Parkinson disease may progress more quickly in people whose symptoms are muscle stiffness and slowness. There is weak evidence* that the disease will progress faster in men and people with a history of stroke, hearing, or vision problems.

In 2002, a group of neurologists reviewed all of the studies for the most effective drugs used to treat Parkinson disease. To treat the initial symptoms of Parkinson disease doctors may prescribe:Levodopa or dopamine agonists: There is strong evidence* that either levodopa or a dopamine agonist can be used to treat initial symptoms. Dopamine agonists are drugs that stimulate the dopamine system and may lessen motor complications. Levodopa is a naturally occurring amino acid that the brain converts to dopamine. Levodopa provides superior motor benefit but it is associated with a higher risk of dyskinesia.Selegiline: Strong evidence* shows that selegiline has very mild benefit as an initial treatment. There is not enough evidence* that it is neuroprotective.

Par·kin·son's dis·ease ˈpärkinsənz diˌzēz/ nounA progressive disease of the nervous system marked by tremor, muscular rigidity, and slow, imprecise movement, chiefly affecting middle-aged and elderly people. It is associated with degeneration of the basal ganglia of the brain and a deficiency of the neurotransmitter dopamine.

Parkinson's disease is caused by the progressive impairment or deterioration of neurons (nerve cells) in an area of the brain known as the substantia nigra. When functioning normally, these neurons produce a vital brain chemical known as dopamine.

"Google." Google. N.p., n.d. Web. 08 Dec. 2015."Understanding Parkinson's." Disease. N.p., n.d. Web. 08 Dec. 2015."10 Facts about Parkinson's Disease - Orion Pharma (UK)." 10 Facts about Parkinson's Disease - Orion Pharma (UK). N.p., 09 Dec. 2015. Web. 08 Dec. 2015.


Parkinson disease is a progressive movement disorder. This means the symptoms will gradually worsen over time. In people with Parkinson disease a vital chemical in the brain,dopamine, slowly decreases. Dopamine makes smooth and coordinated muscle movement possible.



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