What Causes The Condition
First described in 1917 by James Parkinson as the shaking palsy, PD is characterized by a loss of neurons in the substantia nigra portion of the brain. A buildup of the protein alpha-synuclein causes dopamine producing cells to fail and die. There is no known specific cause of PD but it is considered to be a combination of genetic and environmental factors just like PSP.
How Is Psp Diagnosed
Currently there are no tests or brain imaging techniques to definitively diagnose PSP.;An initial diagnosis is based on the persons medical history and a physical and neurological exam. Identifying early gait problems, problems moving the eyes, speech and swallowing abnormalities, as well as ruling out other similar disorders is important. Diagnostic imaging may show shrinkage at the top of the brain stem and look at brain activity in known areas of degeneration.
What Are The Primary Motor Symptoms Of Parkinsons Disease
There are four primary motor symptoms of Parkinsons disease: tremor, rigidity, bradykinesia and postural instability . Observing two or more of these symptoms is the main way that physicians diagnose Parkinsons.
It is important to know that not all of these symptoms must be present for a diagnosis of Parkinsons disease to be considered. In fact, younger people may only notice one or two of these motor symptoms, especially in the early stages of the disease. Not everyone with Parkinsons disease has a tremor, nor is a tremor proof of Parkinsons. If you suspect Parkinsons, see a neurologist or movement disorders specialist.
Walking or Gait Difficulties
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What Are The Different Forms Of Parkinsonism
There are three main forms of parkinsonism, as well as other related conditions.
Most people with parkinsonism have idiopathic Parkinsons disease, also known as Parkinsons. Idiopathic means the cause is unknown.
The most common symptoms of idiopathic Parkinsons are tremor, rigidity and slowness of movement.
Vascular parkinsonism affects people with restricted blood supply to the brain.;Sometimes people who have had a mild stroke may develop this form of parkinsonism.
Common symptoms include problems with memory, sleep, mood and movement.
Some drugs can cause parkinsonism.
Neuroleptic drugs , which block the action of the chemical dopamine in the brain, are thought to be the biggest cause of drug-induced parkinsonism.
The symptoms of drug-induced parkinsonism tend to stay the same only in rare cases do they progress in the way that Parkinsons symptoms do.
Drug-induced parkinsonism only affects a small number of people, and most will recover within months and often within days or weeks of stopping the drug thats causing it.
Is There Any Treatment
There is currently no effective treatment for PSP and symptoms usually do not respond to medications.
- Parkinsons disease medications, such as ropinirole, rarely provide additional benefit. In some individuals, other antiparkinsonian medications, such as levodopa, can treat the slowness, stiffness, and balance problems associated with PSP, but the effect is usually minimal and short-lasting.
- Botulinum toxin, which can be injected into muscles around the eyes, can treat excessive eye closing.
- Some antidepressant drugs may offer some benefits beyond treating depression, such as pain relief and decreasing drooling.
Non-drug treatment for PSP can take many forms.
- Weighted walking aids can help individuals avoid falling backward.
- Bifocals or special glasses called prisms are sometimes prescribed for people with PSP to remedy the difficulty of looking down.
- Exercise;supervised by a healthcare professional can keep joints limber but formal physical therapy has no proven benefit in PSP.
A gastrostomy may be necessary when there are swallowing disturbances or the definite risk of severe choking.
Deep brain stimulationwhich uses surgically implanted electrodes and a pacemaker-like medical device to deliver electrical stimulation to specific areas in the brain ;to block signals that cause the motor symptoms of several neurological disordersand other surgical procedures commonly used in individuals with Parkinson’s disease have not
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Drugs And Medication Used To Treat Parkinsons Disease
A number of different drugs can be used to treat Parkinsons.
Levodopa is the most common treatment for Parkinsons. It helps to replenish dopamine.
About 75 percent of cases respond to levodopa, but not all symptoms are improved. Levodopa is generally given with carbidopa.
Carbidopa delays the breakdown of levodopa which in turn increases the availability of levodopa at the blood-brain barrier.
Dopamine agonists can imitate the action of dopamine in the brain. Theyre less effective than levodopa, but they can be useful as bridge medications when levodopa is less effective.
Drugs in this class include bromocriptine, pramipexole, and ropinirole.
Anticholinergics are used to block the parasympathetic nervous system. They can help with rigidity.
Benztropine and trihexyphenidyl are anticholinergics used to treat Parkinsons.
Amantadine can be used along with carbidopa-levodopa. Its a glutamate-blocking drug . It offers short-term relief for the involuntary movements that can be a side effect of levodopa.
Catechol O-methyltransferase inhibitors prolong the effect of levodopa. Entacapone and tolcapone are examples of COMT inhibitors.
Tolcapone can cause liver damage. Its usually saved for people who do not respond to other therapies.
Ectacapone does not cause liver damage.
Stalevo is a drug that combines ectacapone and carbidopa-levodopa in one pill.
What Are The Complications Of Parkinson Disease
Parkinson disease causes physical symptoms at first. Problems with cognitive function, including forgetfulness and trouble with concentration, may arise later. As the disease gets worse with time, many people develop dementia. This can cause profound memory loss and makes it hard to maintain relationships.
Parkinson disease dementia can cause problems with:
- Speaking and communicating with others
- Problem solving
- Paying attention
If you have Parkinson disease and dementia, in time, you likely won’t be able to live by yourself. Dementia affects your ability to care of yourself, even if you can still physically do daily tasks.
Experts don’t understand how or why dementia often occurs with Parkinson disease. Its clear, though, that dementia and problems with cognitive function are linked to changes in the brain that cause problems with movement. As with Parkinson disease, dementia occurs when nerve cells degenerate, leading to chemical changes in the brain. Parkinson disease dementia may be treated with medicines also used to treat Alzheimer’s disease, another type of dementia.
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What Research Is Being Done
The National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke , a component of the National Institutes of Health, is the primary funder of research on the brain and nervous system.;NIH is the leading funder of biomedical research in the world.
PSP is one of the diseases being studied as part of the NINDS Parkinsons Disease Biomarkers Program. This major NINDS initiative is aimed at discovering ways to identify individuals at risk for developing Parkinsons disease and related disorders, and to track the progression of these diseases. NINDS also supports clinical research studies to develop brain imaging that may allow for earlier and more accurate diagnosis of PSP.
Genetic studies of PSP may identify underlying genetic causes. Previous studies have linked regions of chromosomes containing multiple genes, including the gene for the tau protein , with PSP. Researchers hope to identify specific disease-causing mutation and are also studying how genetics and environment interaction may work together to contribute to disease susceptibility.
Animal models of PSP and other tau-related disorders, including fruit fly and zebrafish models, may identify basic disease mechanisms and lead to preclinical testing of potential drugs. Other studies in animal models focus on brain circuits affected by PSP, such as those involved in motor control and sleep, which may also yield insights into disease mechanisms and treatments.
What Is Alzheimer’s Disease
Alzheimer’s disease , the most common form of dementia among older adults, is an irreversible degeneration of the brain that causes disruptions in memory, cognition, personality, and other functions that eventually lead to death from complete brain failure. Genetic and environmental factors including diet, activity, smoking, traumatic brain injury, diabetes, and other medical diseases contribute to the risk of developing this form of the disease. The hallmarks of Alzheimer’s disease are the accumulation of beta-amyloid plaques between nerve cells in the brain and neurofibrillary tangles, which are twisted fibers found inside the brain’s cells). These tangles consist primarily of a protein called tau.
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What Is Progressive Supranuclear Palsy
Progressive supranuclear palsy is a rare brain disorder that causes problems with movement, walking and balance, and eye movement. It results from damage to nerve cells in the brain that control thinking and body movement. The disorders long name indicates that the disease worsens and causes weakness by damaging certain parts of the brain above nerve cell clusters called nuclei that control eye movements.
PSP is different than Parkinsons diseaseanother movement disorderalthough they share some symptoms . Currently there is no effective treatment for PSP, but some symptoms can be managed with medication or other interventions.
How Is Parkinsonism Diagnosed
You should be referred to a Parkinsons specialist for the diagnosis of any parkinsonism. They may wish to explore different things before giving you a diagnosis.
Your specialist will look at your medical history, ask you about your symptoms and do a medical examination.
Telling the difference between types of parkinsonism isnt always easy, for the following reasons:
- The first symptoms of the different forms of parkinsonism are so similar.
- In many cases, parkinsonism develops gradually. Symptoms that allow your doctor to make a specific diagnosis may only appear as your condition progresses.
- Everyone with parkinsonism is different and has different symptoms.
Find out more: see our information on symptoms of Parkinsons, and diagnosing Parkinsons.
One of the most useful tests to find out what sort of parkinsonism you may have is to see how you respond to treatment.
If your specialist thinks you have idiopathic Parkinsons, theyll expect you to have a good response to Parkinsons drugs such as levodopa . A good response means that your symptoms will improve. Sometimes, it will only be clear that youve responded to medication when the drug is reduced or stopped, and your symptoms become more obvious again.
If you dont have any response to Parkinsons medication, your specialist will have to look again at your diagnosis.
Although not routinely available, your specialist may wish to carry out some of the tests below.
Current tests available include:
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Parkinsonism Accompanying Other Conditions
Parkinsonian symptoms may also appear in patients with other, clearly distinct neurological disorders such as Wilson’s disease, Huntington’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, spinocerebellar ataxias, and Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease. Each of these disorders has specific features that help to distinguish them from PD.
MSA, corticobasal degeneration, and progressive supranuclear palsy are sometimes referred to as “Parkinson’s-plus” diseases because they have the symptoms of PD plus additional features.
Source: The National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke ,
How Do Treatments Differ
MS treatments can ease your symptoms during an attack or slow down the diseaseâs effects on your body.
Steroids like prednisone calm the inflammation that damages your nerves.
Plasma exchange is another therapy if steroids donât work. Your doctor will use a machine to remove the plasma portion of your blood. The plasma gets mixed with a protein solution and put back into your body.
Some people with both diseases who take anti-inflammatory medicines like steroids see their Parkinsonâs symptoms get better.
Disease-modifying treatments slow down MS nerve damage and disability. They include:
National Institute for Neurological Disorders and Stroke: âTremor Fact Sheet.â
Neurology: âParkinsonâs Disease in Multiple Sclerosis – A Population-Based, Nationwide Study in Denmark .â
Mayo Clinic: âMultiple Sclerosis: Overview,â âMultiple Sclerosis: Symptoms and Causes,â âMultiple Sclerosis: Treatment,â âParkinsonâs Disease: Causes,â âParkinsonâs Disease: Definition,â âParkinsonâs Disease: Risk Factors,â âParkinsonâs Disease: Symptoms.â
Christopher Reeve Foundation: âHow the spinal cord works.â
National Association for Continence: âParkinsonâs Disease.â
National Multiple Sclerosis Society: âMS Symptoms,â âWho Gets MS? .â
National Parkinson Foundation: âNon-Motor Symptoms.â
Multiple Sclerosis Trust: âLhermitteâs sign.â
Johns Hopkins Medicine: âPlasmapheresis.â
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Key Difference Parkinsons Vs Huntingtons Disease
The key difference between Parkinsons and Huntingtons disease is that;Parkinson disease is a disorder with rigidity, tremors, slowing of movements, postural instability and gait disturbances usually occurring in old age due to degeneration of the substantia nigra of the midbrain while Huntingtons disease is a familial neurodegenerative disorder usually occurring in a younger population, characterized by emotional problems, loss of thinking ability and abnormal choreiform; movements .
What Is Parkinson Disease
Parkinson;disease is a movement disorder. It can cause the muscles to tighten and become rigid This makes it hard to walk and do other daily activities. People with Parkinsons disease also have tremors and may develop cognitive problems, including memory loss and dementia.
Parkinson;disease is most common in people who are older than 50. The average age at which it occurs is 60. But some younger people may also get Parkinson disease. When it affects someone younger than age 50, it’s called early-onset Parkinson disease. You may be more likely to get early-onset Parkinson disease if someone in your family has it. The older you are, the greater your risk of developing Parkinson disease. It’s also much more common in men than in women.
Parkinson disease is a chronic and progressive disease.; It doesn’t go away and continues to get worse over time.
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New Diagnostic Standards For Parkinsons
Until recently, the gold-standard checklist for diagnosis came from the U.K.s Parkinsons Disease Society Brain Bank. It was a checklist that doctors followed to determine if the symptoms they saw fit the disease. But thats now considered outdated. Recently, new criteria from the International Parkinson and Movement Disorder Society have come into use. This list reflects the most current understanding of the condition. It allows doctors to reach a more accurate diagnosis so patients can begin treatment at earlier stages.
What Is The Prognosis
The disease gets progressively worse, with people becoming severely disabled within three to five years of onset. Affected individuals are predisposed to serious complications such as pneumonia, choking, head injury, and fractures. The most common cause of death is pneumonia. With good attention to medical and nutritional needs, it is possible for individuals with PSP to live a decade or more after the first symptoms of the disease appear.
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What Makes Them Different
MS and Parkinsonâs have different causes. They usually start to affect you at different ages, too.
MS often affects people between ages 20 and 50, but children get it, too. Parkinsonâs usually starts at age 60 or older, but some younger adults get it.
MS is an autoimmune disease. That means your bodyâs immune system goes haywire for some reason. It attacks and destroys myelin. As myelin breaks down, your nerves and nerve fibers get frayed.
In Parkinsonâs, certain brain cells start to die off. Your brain makes less and less of a chemical called dopamine that helps control your movement. As your levels dip, you lose more of this control.
Some genes may put you at risk for Parkinsonâs, especially as you age. Thereâs a small chance that people who are exposed to toxic chemicals like pesticides or weed killers can get it, too.
These symptoms are more common if you have MS. They not usually found in Parkinsonâs:
Imaging Biomarkers In Parkinsonism
DaTscan: dopamine-active transporter scans showing binding of 123I-fluoropropyl to DaT protein in the nigrostriatal nerve endings of the striatum. Normal: symmetrical normal specific binding of FPCIT in striatum. Parkinson’s disease: reduced specific binding of FPCIT in the posterior striatum, particularly on the left .
Further imaging approaches are in development on a research basis. 7-T MR scanning can detect structural nigral abnormalities. Diffusion-tensor MRI and diffusion-weighted imaging have shown some promise in diagnosing PD and its mimics. Transcranial sonography can detect hyperechogenicity in the midbrain of patients with PD. Although this is not specific, it may be a marker of susceptibility to PD.,,
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What Are The Symptoms Of Atypical Parkinsonian Disorders
Like classic Parkinsons disease, atypical Parkinsonian disorders cause muscle stiffness, tremor, and problems with walking/balance and fine motor coordination.
Patients with atypical Parkinsonism often have some degree of difficulty speaking or swallowing, and drooling can be a problem. Psychiatric disturbances such as agitation, anxiety or depression may also be part of the clinical picture.
Dementia with Lewy bodies can cause changes in attention or alertness over hours or days, often with long periods of sleep during the day. Visual hallucinations typically of small animals or children, or moving shadows in the periphery of the visual field are common in DLB. DLB is second only to Alzheimers disease as a cause of dementia in the elderly, and it most commonly affects patients in their 60s.
Patients with progressive supranuclear palsy may have difficulties with eye movements, particularly when looking downward, and with balance when descending stairs, for instance. Backward falls are common and may occur during the early course of the disease. PSP is not usually associated with tremor, unlike Parkinsons disease.
Parkinson’s Disease and Movement Disorders Center
What Is Parkinsons Disease
Parkinsons disease was described by James Parkinson nearly 100 years before Dr. Alois Alzheimer described the dementia later named Alzheimers disease . Called the shaking palsy by Parkinson, PD is diagnosed when a person shows at least two of these three symptoms: slowed movements , muscle rigidity, and tremor . We recognize many other associated signs of PD, including expressionless face, quiet speech, cramped handwriting, shuffling gait, trouble getting out of a chair, and difficulty swallowing. Many of the symptoms of idiopathic Parkinson’s disease result when certain nerve cells that produce dopamine in the brain begin to malfunction and die.
Most cases are called idiopathic, meaning the cause remains unknown, although a small number of cases are linked with poisoning , head trauma, more complex PD-like neurological disorders , or reversible toxic medication effects ,
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