What Causes Parkinson Disease
Parkinson disease arises from decreased dopamine production in the brain. The absence of dopamine makes it hard for the brain to coordinate muscle movements. Low dopamine also contributes to mood and cognitive problems later in the course of the disease. Experts don’t know what triggers the development of Parkinson disease most of the time. Early onset Parkinson disease is often inherited and is the result of certain gene defects.
Sidebar: Morris K Udall Centers Of Excellence For Parkinson’s Disease Research
The Morris K. Udall Parkinsons Disease Research Act of 1997 authorized the NIH to greatly accelerate and expand PD research efforts by launching the NINDS Udall Centers of Excellence, a network of research centers that provide a collaborative, interdisciplinary framework for PD research. Udall Center investigators, along with many other researchers funded by the NIH, have made substantial progress in understanding PD, including identifying disease-associated genes; investigating the neurobiological mechanisms that contribute to PD, developing and improving PD research models, and discovering and testing potential therapeutic targets for developing novel treatment strategies.
The Udall Centers continue to conduct critical basic, translational, and clinical research on PD including: 1) identifying and characterizing candidate and disease-associated genes, 2) examining neurobiological mechanisms underlying the disease, and 3) developing and testing potential therapies. As part of the program, Udall Center investigators work with local communities of patients and caregivers to identify the challenges of living with PD and to translate scientific discoveries into patient care. The Centers also train the next generation of physicians and scientists who will advance our knowledge of and treatments for PD.;See the;full list of Udall Centers.
Other Treatments Of Lower Back Pain
NSAIDs which include medications such as ibuprofen and naproxen, as well as acetaminophen, can be very beneficial for pain in PD, as they are for the general population. These medications do not typically have neurologic side effects, so they are well tolerated in people with PD. They can have other side effects though, so as always, discuss all medications that you are taking, including over-the-counter medications, with your doctor. If these medications do not provide sufficient back pain relief, your doctor may prescribe a pain medication. ;In addition, he/she may refer you for a procedure such as an epidural injection to help with lower back pain. Rarely, surgery may be recommended if a specific structural reason for pain is identified.
How Do I Prevent Falls From Common Hazards
- Floors: Remove all loose wires, cords, and throw rugs. Minimize clutter. Make sure rugs are anchored and smooth. Keep furniture in its usual place.
- Bathroom: Install grab bars and non-skid tape in the tub or shower. Use non-skid bath mats on the floor or install wall-to-wall carpeting.
- Lighting: Make sure halls, stairways, and entrances are well-lit. Install a night light in your bathroom or hallway and staircase. Turn lights on if you get up in the middle of the night. Make sure lamps or light switches are within reach of the bed if you have to get up during the night.
- Kitchen: Install non-skid rubber mats near the sink and stove. Clean spills immediately.
- Stairs: Make sure treads, rails, and rugs are secure. Install a rail on both sides of the stairs. If stairs are a threat, it might be helpful to arrange most of your activities on the lower level to reduce the number of times you must climb the stairs.
- Entrances and doorways: Install metal handles on the walls adjacent to the doorknobs of all doors to make it more secure as you travel through the doorway.
My Moms Thoughts On The Cost Of Parkinsons
My mom was kind enough to share some thoughts about the cost of Parkinsons disease. She said that while theyre doing fine, it seems that fun money inevitably turns into bill money. Yet she remains positive. She, like my dad, continuously adapts to the changes that come with chronic illness.;
She ended a recent email on a positive note: NONETHELESS, we are doing alright!
Note: Parkinsons News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Parkinsons News Today or its parent company, BioNews Services, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to Parkinsons disease.
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What To Know About Parkinsons Disease
Discover the risk factors, symptoms and treatment options for this progressive brain disease that affects movement and mobility
Parkinsons disease is a chronic, progressive disease in which the body doesnt make enough dopamine. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter, or chemical messenger, responsible for normal body movements. The loss of brain cells that produce dopamine leads to motor issues, such as tremor, slowed movements and loss of balance and coordination.
Here is some helpful information about Parkinsons disease.
What Is Parkinson’s Disease Its A Movement Disorder
Parkinson’s disease is a progressive brain illness that affects the way you move. In more clinical terms, Parkinsons disease is a neurodegenerative disorder of the central nervous system.
Normally, there are cells in the brain that produce a chemical called dopamine. Dopamine sends signals to the parts of your brain that control movement. When approximately 60-80% of the dopamine-producing brain cells are damaged, symptoms of Parkinson’s disease appear, and you may have trouble moving the way you want.
Parkinson’s disease is a chronic illness and it slowly progresses over time. While there is no therapy or medicine that cures Parkinsons disease, there are good treatment options available that can help you live a full life.
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Lower Back Pain And Parkinsons Disease
Lower back pain is an extremely common problem in the general population, as well as for people with Parkinsons disease . It tends to make moving more difficult, adding to the challenges of PD. Tim Nordahl, PT, DPT, a physical therapist at Boston University gave an excellent presentation as part of APDAs Lets Keep Moving Webinar Series. Because this is such a prevalent issue, and because there are things you can do to help alleviate your back pain, I wanted to summarize and highlight this important topic.
What Is Parkinsons Disease
Parkinsons disease is a chronic and progressive brain disorder that causes loss of muscle control and affects nearly one million people in the United States alone. The Parkinsons Disease Foundation says the disease involves the malfunction and death of vital nerve cells in the brain, many of which produce dopamine, a chemical that is responsible for controlling movement and coordination.
While symptoms such as tremors, slowed movement and speech problems are among the most common symptoms of Parkinsons, they tend to present themselves only once the disease has progressed. To detect Parkinsons disease in the early stages of development, look for the following seven signs that can present years before the above.
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How Is Parkinsons Disease Treated
While there is no known cure for PD, medications such as levadopa, which increases levels of dopamine, in the brain help control the symptoms. Another treatment is deep brain stimulation, which requires surgery to implant a probe in the brain that helps control the activity of the neurons in brain areas that control movement. These treatments can often manage or improve the motor symptoms. However, much more scientific research is needed to find treatments that stop the progression of the disease and treatments that help alleviate the non-motor symptoms.
It is also important to note that all the above-mentioned symptoms can be found in other diseases. Therefore, it is critical to visit a doctor, especially a movement disorders specialist, to diagnose and treat PD.
Problems With Balance Or Walking
Bradykinesia can also contribute to increasing instability, walking difficulties and changes in gait. An early symptom of this is a decrease in the natural swing of one or both arms when walking. As things progress, the steps you take may become slower and smaller, and you may start shuffling your feet.
Some people with Parkinsons disease may also experience freezing episodes where it can feel like their feet are stuck in place, which can increase the risk of falling.
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What Medications Are Used To Treat Parkinsons Disease
Medications are the main treatment method for patients with Parkinsons disease. Your doctor will work closely with you to develop a treatment plan best suited for you based on the severity of your disease at the time of diagnosis, side effects of the drug class and success or failure of symptom control of the medications you try.
Medications combat Parkinsons disease by:
- Helping nerve cells in the brain make dopamine.
- Mimicking the effects of dopamine in the brain.
- Blocking an enzyme that breaks down dopamine in the brain.
- Reducing some specific symptoms of Parkinsons disease.
Levodopa: Levodopa is a main treatment for the slowness of movement, tremor, and stiffness symptoms of Parkinsons disease. Nerve cells use levodopa to make dopamine, which replenishes the low amount found in the brain of persons with Parkinsons disease. Levodopa is usually taken with carbidopa to allow more levodopa to reach the brain and to prevent or reduce the nausea and vomiting, low blood pressure and other side effects of levodopa. Sinemet® is available in an immediate release formula and a long-acting, controlled release formula. Rytary® is a newer version of levodopa/carbidopa that is a longer-acting capsule. The newest addition is Inbrija®, which is inhaled levodopa. It is used by people already taking regular carbidopa/levodopa for when they have off episodes .
Stooping Or Hunching Over
Are you not standing up as straight as you used to? If you or your family or friends notice that you seem to be stooping, leaning or slouching when you stand, it could be a sign of Parkinsons disease .
Again, all of these can occur years before the condition is full blown. The test becomes your therapy with functional neurology applications in my practice. Combine this with a science based nutritional approach and you can decrease your risk of this horrible disease.
P.S. Dr. Burdorf will be giving a presentation about Parkinsons Disease on Tuesday, April 24 at 6:30 p.m. at TraVeks offices in Scottsdale. Please join us! They are located at 15575 N 83rd Way, Ste A-4, Scottsdale, AZ 85260. They are one block West of the Costco on Hayden.
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Top Questions And Answers On Covid
Since the coronavirus pandemic;is currently part of our daily lives, the Parkinsons Foundation is addressing the top questions about the virus and Parkinsons disease . On March 18, 2020 Michael S. Okun, MD, Parkinsons Foundation Medical Director, and Fred Southwick, MD, Infectious Disease Expert and Author, both from the University of Florida Health, a Parkinsons Foundation Center of Excellence, answered the top COVID-19 questions from our community. View the event recording now. Of course, our Helpline Specialists, 1-800-4PD-INFO, are here to assist you with any other questions that are not covered here.
FAQ on COVID-19 and PD:
Expert COVID-19 Prevention Advice for people with Parkinsons:
1. Are people with Parkinsons more at risk of developing COVID-19?
Those living with Parkinsons disease are in a high risk group, this includes all ages. We are learning that COVID-19 tends to be more severe in the elderly and those with chronic diseases. Currently, there is no evidence that a PD diagnosis makes you more vulnerable to contracting illness. The best advice for those with PD is prevention.
2. Do people with PD have a compromised immune system?
In short, those with PD have an intact immune system that functions well. We believe that in general the Parkinsons disease immune system functions at a high level and is similar to the immune system in those without Parkinsons.
3. Should I get the pneumonia vaccine?
4. Are people with PD more prone to lung issues?
How Is Parkinson’s Disease Diagnosed
Diagnosis is difficult at every stage of the disease, but particularly in the early stages. No single test can provide a diagnosis. A diagnosis will likely involve physical and neurological examinations, conducted over time to assess changes in reflexes, coordination, muscle strength, and mental function. Your doctor might also see how you respond to medicine.
You may need to have brain imaging tests to rule out other conditions that might be causing your symptoms. Such tests could include MRI and CT scans and possibly some other types of scans. Blood tests may also be done to exclude other illnesses.
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Parkinsons Disease Signs And Symptoms
It can be quite difficult to tell if a person is suffering from Parkinsons disease or not because there can be the involvement of multiple symptoms in a single individual. However, if a person suffers from more than one symptoms of Parkinsons disease, he must go for a doctors appointment.
Following are the fifteen symptoms of Parkinsons disease:
Shaking of hands or tremors is one of the most common movement related symptoms of Parkinsons disease. When a person feels slight shaking of his hands at rest, then it is an early sign of Parkinsons disease. A person with Parkinsons disease can notice tremors in his hand, fingers, thumb, or even chin. Low dopamine levels can contribute to uncontrollable shaking of body parts. However, slight shaking is normal if a person exercises a lot or is going through stress but repetitive tremors are a sign of Parkinsons disease.
What Lifestyle Changes Can I Make To Ease Parkinsons Symptoms
Exercise: Exercise helps improve muscle strength, balance, coordination, flexibility, and tremor. It is also strongly believed to improve memory, thinking and reduce the risk of falls and decrease anxiety and depression. One study in persons with Parkinsons disease showed that 2.5 hours of exercise per week resulted in improved ability to move and a slower decline in quality of life compared to those who didnt exercise or didnt start until later in the course of their disease. Some exercises to consider include strengthening or resistance training, stretching exercises or aerobics . All types of exercise are helpful.
Eat a healthy, balanced diet: This is not only good for your general health but can ease some of the non-movement related symptoms of Parkinsons, such as constipation. Eating foods high in fiber in particular can relieve constipation. The Mediterranean diet is one example of a healthy diet.
Preventing falls and maintaining balance: Falls are a frequent complication of Parkinson’s. While you can do many things to reduce your risk of falling, the two most important are: 1) to work with your doctor to ensure that your treatments whether medicines or deep brain stimulation are optimal; and 2) to consult with a physical therapist who can assess your walking and balance. The physical therapist is the expert when it comes to recommending assistive devices or exercise to improve safety and preventing falls.
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What Are The Symptoms/warning Signs Of Parkinsons Disease
Parkinson’s disease belongs to a group of conditions called motor system disorders, which are the result of the loss of dopamine-producing brain cells. The four primary symptoms of PD are tremor, or trembling in hands, arms, legs, jaw, and face; rigidity, or stiffness of the limbs and trunk; bradykinesia, or slowness of movement; and postural instability, or impaired balance and coordination. As these symptoms become more pronounced, patients may have difficulty walking, talking, or completing other simple tasks. PD usually affects people over the age of 60. Early symptoms of PD are subtle and occur gradually. In some people the disease progresses more quickly than in others.
As the disease progresses, the shaking, or tremor, which affects most people with PD, may begin to interfere with daily activities including difficulty walking and talking. They may also have mental and behavioral changes, sleep problems, depression, memory difficulties, and fatigue.
One clear risk factor for Parkinson’s is age. Although most people with Parkinsons first develop the disease at about age 60, about 5 to 10 percent of people with Parkinson’s have “early-onset” disease, which begins before the age of 50. Early-onset forms of Parkinson’s are often, but not always, inherited, and some forms have been linked to specific gene mutations.
Sidebar: Advances In Circuitry Research
The brain contains numerous connections among neurons known as neural circuits.
Research on such connections and networks within the brain have advanced rapidly in the past few years. A wide spectrum of tools and techniques can now map connections between neural circuits. Using animal models, scientists have shown how circuits in the brain can be turned on and off. For example, researchers can see correlations between the firing patterns of neurons in a zebrafishs brain and precise behavioral responses such as seeking and capturing food.
Potential opportunities to influence the brains circuitry are starting to emerge. Optogenetics is an experimental technique that involves the delivery of light-sensitive proteins to specific populations of brain cells. Once in place, these light-sensitive proteins can be inhibited or stimulated by exposure to light delivered via fiber optics. Optogenetics has never been used in people, however the success of the approach in animal models demonstrates a proof of principal: A neural network can be precisely targeted.
Thanks in part to the BRAIN Initiative, research on neural circuitry is gaining momentum. The Brain Research through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies Initiative is accelerating the development and application of new technologies that enable researchers to produce dynamic pictures of the brain that show how individual brain cells and complex neural circuits interact at the speed of thought.
NIH Publication No. 15-5595