Incidence Of Parkinsons Disease
Its estimated that approximately four people per 1,000 in Australia have Parkinsons disease, with the incidence increasing to one in 100 over the age of 60. In Australia, there are approximately 80,000 people living with Parkinsons disease, with one in five of these people being diagnosed before the age of 50. In Victoria, more than 2,225 people are newly diagnosed with Parkinsons every year.
Sidebar: Ninds Steps Up Pursuit Of Pd Biomarkers
In 2012, the NINDS dramatically accelerated efforts to identify biomarkers by establishing the Parkinsons Disease Biomarkers Program . This unprecedented program unites a range of stakeholders from basic and clinical researchers to healthcare professionals, the NINDS staff, information technology experts, and people living with PD and their families.
PDBP supports research and builds resources aimed at accelerating the discovery of biomarkers to ultimately slow the progression of PD. For example, the program has established a repository of biological specimens and a Data Management Resource system maintained by the NIH Center for Information Technology. The DMR allows researchers to access clinical, imaging, genetic, and biologic data, while a complementary PDBP-supported project develops statistical tools to analyze vast quantities of data so that patterns can be identified across these diverse sources of information.
Other Types Of Treatment For Parkinson’s Disease
Some people with Parkinson’s have surgery called deep brain stimulation . In this procedure, doctors place a wire deep inside a specific spot in the brain, depending on the symptoms that need treatment. DBS can lead to dramatic improvements in many people.
Scientists are also exploring ways to place cells that make dopamine into the brain to help treat people with Parkinson’s, instead of taking medicine. Some experts are trying to see if stem cells can be used for this, but research is still in an early stage.
Some treatments focus on the effects of the disorder, rather than the causes. Your doctor might refer you to a physical therapist to improve your balance and your ability to move. A physical therapist may also teach muscle-strengthening exercises to help you speak or swallow.
It’s important to keep up a daily exercise program and to stay socially active. You can get information about support groups and exercise classes in your area by checking with the American Parkinson Disease Association.
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Seek Support From Others
Friends and family can be a great source of help when youâre dealing with Parkinsonâs. But sometimes, itâs a relief to be able to relate to someone who knows what itâs like to deal with the disease. In-person or online support groups can offer comfort and practical advice. They can also help you feel less alone. Ask your doctor, nurse, or social worker to suggest local or online groups you can join.
Sometimes people have problems that are better addressed in a one-on-one atmosphere. By taking part in individual counseling, you may be more able to express sensitive or private feelings you have about your condition and its impact on your lifestyle and relationships.
Itâs common to feel depressed and anxious, too. Check in with a mental health professional if you’re having a hard time enjoying life the way you used to, or if you are often angry, sad, or unlike your usual self.
Symptoms Of Parkinsons Disease
Parkinsons has four main symptoms:
- Tremor in hands, arms, legs, jaw, or head
- Muscle stiffness, where muscle remains contracted for a long time
- Slowness of movement
- Impaired balance and coordination, sometimes leading to falls
Other symptoms may include:
The symptoms of Parkinsons and the rate of progression differ among individuals. Early symptoms of this disease are subtle and occur gradually. For example, people may feel mild tremors or have difficulty getting out of a chair. They may notice that they speak too softly, or that their handwriting is slow and looks cramped or small. Friends or family members may be the first to notice changes in someone with early Parkinsons. They may see that the persons face lacks expression and animation, or that the person does not move an arm or leg normally.
People with Parkinson’s disease often develop a parkinsonian gait that includes a tendency to lean forward take small, quick steps and reduce swinging their arms. They also may have trouble initiating or continuing movement.
Symptoms often begin on one side of the body or even in one limb on one side of the body. As the disease progresses, it eventually affects both sides. However, the symptoms may still be more severe on one side than on the other.
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What Causes Parkinsons Disease
The most prominent signs and symptoms of Parkinsons disease occur when nerve cells in the basal ganglia, an area of the brain that controls movement, become impaired and/or die. Normally, these nerve cells, or neurons, produce an important brain chemical known as dopamine. When the neurons die or become impaired, they produce less dopamine, which causes the movement problems associated with the disease. Scientists still do not know what causes the neurons to die.
People with Parkinsons disease also lose the nerve endings that produce norepinephrine, the main chemical messenger of the sympathetic nervous system, which controls many functions of the body, such as heart rate and blood pressure. The loss of norepinephrine might help explain some of the non-movement features of Parkinsons, such as fatigue, irregular blood pressure, decreased movement of food through the digestive tract, and sudden drop in blood pressure when a person stands up from a sitting or lying position.
Many brain cells of people with Parkinsons disease contain Lewy bodies, unusual clumps of the protein alpha-synuclein. Scientists are trying to better understand the normal and abnormal functions of alpha-synuclein and its relationship to genetic mutations that impact Parkinsons andLewy body dementia.
Assembling Your Care Team
Assembling a team that will provide you with physical and emotional support and adapt to your needs over time is one of the best ways to remain healthy. Parkinsons disease is complex and requires an interdisciplinary approach to care. The care team may include, but is not limited to:
- Movement disorder specialist
- Rehabilitation specialists including physical, occupational, and speech therapists
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What Causes The Condition
Although there are several recognized risk factors for Parkinsons disease, such as exposure to pesticides, for now, the only confirmed causes of Parkinsons disease are genetic. When Parkinsons disease isnt genetic, experts classify it as idiopathic . That means they dont know exactly why it happens.
Many conditions look like Parkinson’s disease but are instead parkinsonism from a specific cause like some psychiatric medications.
Familial Parkinsons disease
Parkinsons disease can have a familial cause, which means you can inherit it from one or both of your parents. However, this only makes up about 10% of all cases.
Experts have linked at least seven different genes to Parkinson’s disease. They’ve linked three of those to early-onset of the condition . Some genetic mutations also cause unique, distinguishing features.
Idiopathic Parkinsons disease
Experts believe idiopathic Parkinsons disease happens because of problems with how your body uses a protein called -synuclein . Proteins are chemical molecules that have a very specific shape. When some proteins dont have the correct shape a problem known as protein misfolding your body cant use them and can’t break them down.
With nowhere to go, the proteins build up in various places or in certain cells . The buildup of these Lewy bodies causes toxic effects and cell damage.
The possible causes are:
Surgery For People With Parkinsons Disease
Deep brain stimulation surgery is an option to treat Parkinsons disease symptoms, but it is not suitable for everyone. There are strict criteria and guidelines on who can be a candidate for surgery, and this is something that only your doctor and you can decide. Surgery may be considered early or late in the progression of Parkinsons. When performing deep-brain stimulation surgery, the surgeon places an electrode in the part of the brain most effected by Parkinsons disease. Electrical impulses are introduced to the brain, which has the effect of normalising the brains electrical activity reducing the symptoms of Parkinsons disease. The electrical impulse is introduced using a pacemaker-like device called a stimulator. Thalamotomy and pallidotomy are operations where the surgeon makes an incision on part of the brain. These surgeries aim to alleviate some forms of tremor or unusual movement, but they are rarely performed now.
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Eating With Parkinsons Disease: Problems And Solutions
Both Parkinsons disease and the primary medication used to treat it can cause a variety of eating problems.
The tremors, slowness, and stiffness that often occur with Parkinsons disease can make many everyday activities and tasks challenging. As Parkinsons becomes more severe, eating and digesting food can go from being one of lifes pleasures to a source of anxiety and frustration.
Not only can issues around eating negatively impact quality of life, they can also have health consequences. Some research, according to a review article from January 2018 in Frontiers in Aging Neuroscience, suggests that the weight loss and malnutrition associated with Parkinsons disease may impact disease progression and disability.
Here are some of the most common eating and digestion problems that occur with Parkinsons disease, and expert solutions on how to address them.
How To Talk To A Loved One About Parkinsons Disease
These are some strategies that can be helpful while talking to a loved one about Parkinsons disease:
- Check in regularly: Check in on the person regularly to ask them how theyre feeling and coping.
- Use empathetic language: Parkinsons disease can affect a persons ability to go about their daily life. The person might find it challenging to do things they once did easily. This can be difficult and frustrating for them. Try to be empathetic when you speak to them, so they feel supported.
- Offer assistance: As Parkinsons disease progresses, the person may not be able to drive, cook, clean, or care for themselves. Offer them your assistance and let them know they can count on you.
- Encourage them to settle their affairs: If your loved one is in a position to make important decisions, it can be helpful to encourage them to settle their affairs.
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Supplements To Support Parkinsons
Glutathione. The brain cells of Parkinsons patients are often deficient in this brain-protective antioxidant. Intravenous glutathione two to three times a week, which your doctor can show you how to do, has produced promising results.
Coenzyme-Q10. This antioxidant improves mitochondrial functioning, which helps protect the dopamine-production cells. Take 200 mg daily, half in the morning and half at night.
Creatine. About 10 mg a day of this protein may boost the dopamine available to brain cells and protect neurons. A 2006 study found improved moods and smaller increases in dopamine-therapy drugs for Parkinsons patients taking creatine.
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Telemedicine Sensors And Mobile Apps
Given the difficulties some patients with PD have when it comes to traveling and planning office visits, the increasingly accepted field of telemedicine may offer a solution. Many patients have reported preferring telemedicine because they feel more at ease in the comfort of their own home. Remote medical communications in many forms can be especially valuable to patients with PD. However, remote communication requires tools in order to evaluate the patient who is not physically present at the office.
Some sensor modalities are biopotential-specific sensor units, such as electrocardiography and electromyography , motion sensor units, such as accelerometers and gyroscopes and environmental sensor units such as video cameras. Technology solutions to PD remote medical visits include remote tracking of medication use and assistive technologies that directly compensate for disease-related challenges. The same sensors will quantify the effectiveness of medication and rehabilitation therapies.
Smartphone apps designed for PD patients are now available to address different aspects of patients needs. These apps are mainly designed to record and track the data gathered by the sensors already available on most smartphones, such as memory games, finger tapping, speaking, and walking. Ahead is a short list of apps designed for those with Parkinsons disease:
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How To Make Your Treatment Most Effective
These are some complementary and supportive treatment strategies that can help ease your symptoms:
- Speech therapy can address the speech disturbances caused by Parkinsons disease and help improve speech volume and quality.
- Physical therapy can help with symptoms such as tremors, muscle rigidity, and gait difficulties.
- Occupational therapycan make everyday activities easier and help with the cognitive symptoms of Parkinsons.
- Massage therapy can help with muscle rigidity.
- Exercise can help improve your balance, flexibility, and strength.
- A healthy dietwith plenty of fiber can help combat the digestive issues caused by Parkinsons disease, such as constipation.
Green Tea And Coffee To Reduce The Risk Of Developing Pd
Green tea is prepared from the leaves of the Camellia Sinensis plant and contains phenolic compounds such as -Epigallocatechin-3-gallate a potent antioxidant and neuroprotective compound. Preclinical clinical and self-report studies suggest that green tea may prevent PD . However, the therapeutic mechanism of green teas potential protective actions in PD is unclear. It is feasible that green teas phenolic compounds are modulating critical neuroprotective signaling pathways in the brain . On the other hand, green tea could exert its effects via caffeine-induced inactivation of the adenosine receptor.
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What Are The Early Warning Signs Of Parkinson’s Disease
Parkinsons warning signs can be motor symptoms like slow movements, tremors or stiffness. However, they can also be non-motor symptoms. Many of the possible non-motor symptoms can appear years or even decades ahead of motor symptoms. However, non-motor symptoms can also be vague, making it difficult to connect them to Parkinson’s disease.
Non-motor symptoms that might be early warning signs include:
- Sleep problems such as periodic limb movement disorder , rapid eye movement behavior disorder and restless legs syndrome.
Smart Tools For Improved Quality Of Life
Smart devices are embedded with electronic software, sensors and network connectivity that enable these objects to collect and exchange data. Interconnected automation will make life easier for everybody, but it may be especially valuable for people with motor limitations and Parkinsons disease.
Currently, the volume of information, how to handle collected data, making sense of it, and keeping it constantly secure is challenging bioinformatics engineers. From a health services provider point of view, the cost of delivering telehealth care is not sufficiently covered by insurance systems. As needs and services are rapidly growing, new strategies in the field of health economics should be provisioned.
Research efforts should focus on determining and assessing the struggles of the challenged population and inventing technologies to address their very specific needs.
The technology offered to the elderly, particularly those with a neurodegenerative condition like PD , should be much more user-friendly than average technological tools. Introducing such technologies to patients with PD will enhance their autonomy and self-sufficiency and improve their quality of life.
Sanaz Attaripour Isfahani, MD is Chief Resident of Neurology at Drexel University in Philadelphia, PA. She will be attending the National Institutes of Health for a fellowship in movement disorders starting in September, 2017.
SUDEP: Risk Factors and Proposed Mechanisms
Michelle L. Dougherty, MD
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Seeking A Synaptic Solution To Parkinsons Disease
Dr. Hideto Takahashi, a researcher at the Montreal Clinical Research Institute, has pointed to a protein called neurexin as a key contributor to neurodegenerative disease. This agent is a building block of synapses, the vital links between neurons that allows these brain cells to communicate with one another. Neurexin also moderates agents associated with the development of Parkinsons disease and Alzheimers disease, making it a good candidate for potential therapies to treat these disorders. Takahashis research is made possible through a New Investigator Award from Parkinson Canada National Research Program for $90,000 over 2 years.
Dr. Hideto Takahashis interest in Parkinsons disease was spawned by a desire to understand the synapse, a fundamental piece of the nervous systems architecture. Synapses allow neurons to send chemical signals to one another, laying the foundation for our ability to monitor and control the many different parts of our body.
Takahashi, a medical doctor and assistant professor at Université de Montréals Faculty of Medicine and researcher at the Montreal Clinical Research Institute, refers to the significance of a protein called neurexin, which helps neurons establish and maintain these connections with one another.
I want to demonstrate the pathological role of neurexin in altering the brain morphology and function in neurodegenerative disorders, he concludes.
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How Parkinsons Disease Is Treated
Parkinsons disease is a progressive neurological condition that has no cure however, medication, surgery, and other therapies can help you manage the symptoms of Parkinsons, often for a significant amount of time.
Treatment for this condition is typically highly individualized. Your healthcare provider will evaluate you and suggest a course of treatment based on factors like:
- Your age, symptoms, medical history, lifestyle, and current health status
- The type of Parkinsons disease you have and the progression of the condition
- Your preference, responsiveness, and tolerance of procedures, medicines, and therapies
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How Is It Diagnosed
Diagnosing Parkinson’s disease is mostly a clinical process, meaning it relies heavily on a healthcare provider examining your symptoms, asking you questions and reviewing your medical history. Some diagnostic and lab tests are possible, but these are usually needed to rule out other conditions or certain causes. However, most lab tests aren’t necessary unless you don’t respond to treatment for Parkinson’s disease, which can indicate you have another condition.