Parkinson's disease

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Parkinson's disease

or

Parkinsonism,

degenerative brain disorder first described by the English surgeon James Parkinson in 1817. When there is no known cause, the disease usually appears after age 40 and is referred to as Parkinson's disease; a number of genes have been found to be associated with the disease. Parkinsonism usually refers to similar symptoms resulting from head injury, encephalitis, syphilis, carbon monoxide poisoning, cerebral arteriosclerosis, or use of MPTP (a synthetic narcotic). The disorder is also termed paralysis agitans, or shaking palsy.

Parkinson's disease is a debilitating and progressive disorder in which the chemicals that facilitate electrical transmission between nerve cells are depleted. It was the first disease to be treated by drugs that replace deficient neurotransmittersneurotransmitter,
chemical that transmits information across the junction (synapse) that separates one nerve cell (neuron) from another nerve cell or a muscle. Neurotransmitters are stored in the nerve cell's bulbous end (axon).
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. Symptoms usually begin in middle to later life with trembling of the lips and hands, loss of facial expression, and muscular rigidity. As it progresses it may bring on body tremors, particularly in muscles at rest. Movements become slow and difficult; walking degrades to a shuffle. After many years physical incapacity may occur. Dementia occurs in at least 50% of the patients; depression is also common.

When drugs such as levodopa (L-Dopa) are taken orally, many of the worst symptoms are lessened. New drugs such as pramipexole (Mirapex) and ropinirole (Requip) can delay the need for levodopa. Apomorphine (Apokyn) is used treat episodes of reduced mobility in patients with advanced Parkinson's that responds less effectively to levodopa. Future approaches to treatment include a focus on early detection and slowing progression of the disease. Encouraging results have been reported from surgical insertion of a pacemakerlike device deep in the brain to suppress uncontrolled movements, but surgical transplantation of fetal dopamine-producing cells failed to show significant benefits in a controlled study. Traditional surgery can alleviate some tremors, and physical therapy may help mobility.

Parkinson's disease

[′pär·kən·sənz di‚zēz]
(medicine)
References in periodicals archive ?
The results from this study suggested that NIL-A was well tolerated at doses up to 1,000 mg taken orally four times a day for 6 months, but did not produce a substantial reversal of the motor symptoms of Parkinson's disease.
The stimulation appears to block the brain signals that cause the motor symptoms of Parkinson's disease and Essential Tremor, and scientists believe it works the same way for dystonia.
Deep brain stimulation appears to reduce the motor symptoms of Parkinson's disease by interrupting errant neuronal activity in the brain caused by the degeneration of cells that produce a chemical called dopamine, which regulates movement.
Activa Parkinson's Control Therapy is designed to work by stimulating the structures deep within the brain that influence motor control and by blocking brain signals that cause the four major motor symptoms of Parkinson's disease.
The animal data on neuroprotection suggests the potential for this compound to treat not only the cognitive and motor symptoms of Parkinson's disease, but to retard the degeneration of neurons, which is a hallmark of the disease process.
Thus, SIBIA believes SIB-1508Y may have both an intrinsic activity in the treatment of the motor symptoms of Parkinson's disease and a potentiation of levodopa in more severe patients.