What is Parkinson’s Disease?

Parkinson’s Disease is a degenerative condition of the central nervous system that results in a slowing of movement, tremor, postural abnormalities, loss of facial expression, rigidity, impaired balance, and in some cases alterations in behavior and thought. The source of impaired function results from the loss of a population of dopamine producing cells in a region of the brain called the ‘substantia nigra’. Dopamine, a neurotransmitter, regulates the excitability of other cell populations that are involved in motor function. The loss of the orchestrated release of dopamine has a profound impact on movement. In most cases, the cause of Parkinson’s is unknown although parkinson-like syndromes have been observed as a side effect of certain drugs and after repeated head injury.

What are some treatments for Parkinson’s Disease?

Although there is not yet a cure for Parkinson’s, medical management may offer years of symptomatic relief. Surgical options including deep brain stimulation, stereotactic thalamotomy, and pallidotomy are offered to selected patients when medical treatment is exhausted.

Similar Conditions to Parkison’s Disease

Atypical Parkinsonism

Often referred to as “Parkinson’s Plus-Syndrome.” These disorders include Progressive Supranuclear Palsy, Multiple System Atrophy and Corticobasalganglionic Degeneration. These sydromes mimic typical Parkonson’s but have differentiating features that often don’t respond well to conventional treatments.

Secondary Parkinsonism

A disorder with symptoms similar to Parkinson’s Disease but caused by medication side effects, brain damage i.e from repetitive concussion, illness or other conditions.

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