Thursday, June 16, 2022
Thursday, June 16, 2022
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What Does Parkinson’s Disease Do To You

Production Of Dopamine Neurons From Stem Cells: Could We Be One Step Closer To The Cure

What’s best to eat if you have Parkinson’s Disease

As the disease progresses, people may experience reduced quality of life, if normal functions such as swallowing, start to be affected. Currently, there is no known cure for Parkinsons disease. Once Parkinsons is diagnosed, the symptoms can often be treated with medications and therapies, especially in the early stages. However, the scientific community is making every effort to find a way to cure or at the very least find more effective ways to lessen the symptoms of this physically impairing disease.

As we mentioned before, the disease primarily affects dopamine-producing brain cells or neurons. The good news is, scientists in Sweden have identified some insights and a set of markers that should help control the quality of stem cells engineered for clinical use to treat Parkinsons disease. As the disease progresses and dopamine-producing brain cells malfunction and die, it leads to lower levels of dopamine, which is a chemical messenger essential for controlling movement. These findings should help fine-tune stem cell engineering to produce pure populations of high-quality dopamine neurons. Then, a pool of progenitor cells can be transplanted into the brains of patients, so they can make new supplies of dopamine cells.

But while this exciting new research is still in the lab, what else can we hope for to delay the symptoms of Parkinsons and improve the quality of life of those suffering from the disease?

Why Is Expert Care Important

Early expert care can help reduce PD complications. Findings show that 60 percent of people with Parkinson’s fall short of getting the expert care they need. The National Parkinson Foundation has estimated that about 6,400 people with Parkinson’s die;unnecessarily;;each year due to poor care.

Trained neurologists will help you recognize, treat and manage the disease. Common approaches include medication, surgical treatment, lifestyle modifications , physical therapy, support groups, occupational therapy and speech therapy. The best approach is interdisciplinary care, where you are seen by multiple specialists on a regular basis and all of the specialists talk and arrange the best possible coordinated care. This is what is referred to as a patient-centric approach to Parkinson’s care.

How Is A Diagnosis Made

Because other conditions and medications mimic the symptoms of PD, getting an accurate diagnosis from a physician is important. No single test can confirm a diagnosis of PD, because the symptoms vary from person to person. A thorough history and physical exam should be enough for a diagnosis to be made. Other conditions that have Parkinsons-like symptoms include Parkinsons plus, essential tremor, progressive supranuclear palsy, multi-system atrophy, dystonia, and normal pressure hydrocephalus.

Read Also: Parkinson’s Disease Life Span

Living With Parkinsons Disease

Depending on severity, life can look very different for a person coping with Parkinsons Disease. As a loved one, your top priority will be their comfort, peace of mind and safety. Dr. Shprecher offered some advice, regardless of the diseases progression. Besides movement issues Parkinsons Disease can cause a wide variety of symptoms including drooling, constipation, low blood pressure when standing up, voice problems, depression, anxiety, sleep problems, hallucinations and dementia.; Therefore, regular visits with a neurologist;experienced with Parkinsons are important to make sure the diagnosis is on target, and the symptoms are monitored and addressed.; Because changes in your other medications can affect your Parkinsons symptoms, you should remind each member of your healthcare team to send a copy of your clinic note after every appointment.

Dr. Shprecher also added that maintaining a healthy diet and getting regular exercise can help improve quality of life.;Physical and speech therapists;are welcome additions to any caregiving team.

What Is And Isn’t Parkinson’s Disease

How To Cure and What To Avoid in Parkinsons Disease ...

I am often asked if Parkinson’s Disease is a form of Alzheimers. Parkinson’s is not Alzheimers, ALS or a brain tumor, and the prognosis for Parkinson’s, though not a perfect scenario, leaves room to live a productive life.

PD is a progressive and chronic neurological disease that often begins with mild symptoms that advance gradually over time. Symptoms can be so subtle in the early stages that they go unnoticed, leaving the disease undiagnosed for years. For patients with Parkinson’s, there is a reduction in the body chemical dopamine, which controls movement and mood so simple activities like walking, talking and writing can be impacted.

Due to the complexity of PD, diagnosis is based on a variety of factors. The best diagnosis is made by an expert doing a careful history and exam followed by tracking responses to therapy. There is no blood or laboratory test to diagnose Parkinson’s disease.

While Parkinson’s reaches all demographics, the majority of people with PD are age 60 or older. Men and people with a family history of the disease have an increased risk.

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Parkinsons Off Time: What It Looks Like And How To Manage It

    What does it mean when we say that Parkinsons can go from off to on and then back to off again?;Listen as experts discuss;these;off periods; those times when;medication can wear off between doses, or are not working optimally, and symptoms can return.;This;episode will share steps you can take to manage;off time,;including how you can communicate with doctors;and care partners;about what youre experiencing and;ongoing;research to decrease;or treat these episodes.;

    Special thanks to our sponsors Acorda Therapeutics, Amneal Pharmaceuticals, Kyowa Kirin, Neurocrine Biosciences and Sunovion Pharmaceuticals who made this episode of The Michael J. Fox Foundation Parkinsons Podcast possible.

    If youd rather listen on the go,;;or through any podcast app on your smartphone or tablet. And if you enjoyed what you heard, share it with a friend or leave a review on iTunes. It helps listeners like you find and support our mission.;;

    Expert Panelists:;

    Host and person with Parkinson’s Larry Gifford leads a discussion with:;

    • Ashley Rawls, MD, movement disorder specialist;at the University of Florida Norman Fixel Institute;for;Neurological Diseases;

    • Soania Mathur, MD,;co-chair of;MJFFs;Patient;Council;;

    • Rick Schwartz, person with Parkinsons;and former professional baseball player;

    What Is The Prognosis And Life Expectancy For Parkinson’s Disease

      The severity of Parkinson’s disease symptoms and signs vary greatly from person to peson, and it is not possible to predict how quickly the disease will progress. Parkinson’s disease itself is not a fatal disease, and the average life expectancy is similar to that of people without the disease. Secondary complications, such as pneumonia, falling-related injuries, and choking can lead to death. Many treatment options can reduce some of the symptoms and prolong the quality of life.

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      What Are The Symptoms Of Parkinsons Disease

      Symptoms of Parkinsons disease and the rate of decline vary widely from person to person. The most common symptoms include:

      Other symptoms include:

      • Speech/vocal changes: Speech may be quick, become slurred or be soft in tone. You may hesitate before speaking. The pitch of your voice may become unchanged .
      • Handwriting changes: You handwriting may become smaller and more difficult to read.
      • Depression and anxiety.
      • Sleeping disturbances including disrupted sleep, acting out your dreams, and restless leg syndrome.
      • Pain, lack of interest , fatigue, change in weight, vision changes.
      • Low blood pressure.

      What Are The Primary Motor Symptoms Of Parkinsons Disease

      How do you measure Parkinson’s 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.

      Tremors

      Rigidity

      Bradykinesia

      Postural Instability

      Walking or Gait Difficulties

      Dystonia

      Vocal Symptoms

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      Parkinson’s Disease Diet And Nutrition

      Maintaining Your Weight With Parkinson’s Disease

      Malnutrition and weight maintenance is often an issue for people with Parkinson’s disease. Here are some tips to help you maintain a healthy weight.

      • Weigh yourself once or twice a week, unless your doctor recommends weighing yourself often. If you are taking diuretics or steroids, such as prednisone, you should weigh yourself daily.
      • If you have an unexplained weight gain or loss , contact your doctor. He or she may want to modify your food or fluid intake to help manage your condition.
      • Avoid low-fat or low-calorie products. . Use whole milk, whole milk cheese, and yogurt.

      Causes And Risk Factors Of Parkinsons Disease

      Most cases of Parkinsons disease are idiopathic, meaning the cause is unclear.

      Its widely believed that a person with Parkinsons may have been genetically vulnerable to the disease, and that one or more unknown factors in the environment eventually triggered the disease.

      Most of the;symptoms of Parkinsons;disease come from the loss of neurons in an area of your brain called the substantia nigra.;

      Normally, the neurons in this part of the brain make the chemical messenger dopamine, which allows communication with another area of the brain, the corpus striatum.

      This communication helps produce smooth, purposeful movement. When the neurons in the substantia nigra die, the resulting loss of communication leads to the motor symptoms of Parkinsons.

      Although the cause of this cell death is unknown, many researchers believe that the cells are killed by clumped proteins called Lewy;bodies.

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      Diagnosis And Management Of Parkinsons Disease

      There are no diagnostic tests for Parkinsons. X-rays, scans and blood tests may be used to rule out other conditions. For this reason, getting a diagnosis of Parkinsons may take some time.;;

      No two people with Parkinsons disease will have exactly the same symptoms or treatment. Your doctor or neurologist can help you decide which treatments to use.

      People can manage their Parkinsons disease symptoms through:;

      • seeing a Doctor who specialises in Parkinsons
      • medication
      • multidisciplinary therapy provided for example, by nurses, allied health professionals and counsellors
      • deep brain stimulation surgery .

      Testing For Parkinsons Disease

      Parkinson

      There is no lab or imaging test that is recommended or definitive for Parkinsons disease. However, in 2011, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved an imaging scan called the DaTscan. This technique allows doctors to see detailed pictures of the brains dopamine system.

      A DaTscan involves an injection of a small amount of a radioactive drug and a machine called a single-photon emission computed tomography scanner, similar to an MRI.

      The drug binds to dopamine transmitters in the brain, showing where in the brain dopaminergic neurons are.

      The results of a DaTscan cant show that you have Parkinsons, but they can help your doctor confirm a diagnosis or rule out a Parkinsons mimic.

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      What Treatments Are Available

      Many Parkinson’s patients enjoy an active lifestyle and a normal life expectancy. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle by eating a balanced diet and staying physically active contributes to overall health and well-being. Parkinson’s disease can be managed with self-care, medication, and surgery.

      Self careExercise is as important as medication in the treatment of PD. It helps maintain flexibility and improves balance and range of motion. Patients may want to join a support group and continue enjoyable activities to improve their quality of life. Equally important is the health and well being of the family and caregivers who are also coping with PD. For additional pointers, see Coping With Parkinsons Disease.

      These are some practical tips patients can use:

      Medications There are several types of medications used to manage Parkinson’s. These medications may be used alone or in combination with each other, depending if your symptoms are mild or advanced.

      After a time on medication, patients may notice that each dose wears off before the next dose can be taken or erratic fluctuations in dose effect . Anti-Parkinsons drugs can cause dyskinesia, which are involuntary jerking or swaying movements that typically occur at peak dosage and are caused by an overload of dopamine medication. Sometimes dyskinesia can be more troublesome than the Parkinsons symptoms.

      How Is Parkinson’s Disease Treated

      If a doctor thinks a person has Parkinson’s disease, there’s reason for hope. Medicine can be used to eliminate or improve the symptoms, like the body tremors. And some experts think that a cure may be found soon.

      For now, a medicine called levodopa is often given to people who have Parkinson’s disease. Called “L-dopa,” this medicine increases the amount of dopamine in the body and has been shown to improve a person’s ability to walk and move around. Other drugs also help decrease and manage the symptoms by affecting dopamine levels. In some cases, surgery may be needed to treat it. The person would get anesthesia, a special kind of medicine to prevent pain during the operation.

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      Other Causes Of Parkinsonism

      “Parkinsonism” is the umbrella term used to describe the symptoms of tremors, muscle rigidity and slowness of movement.

      Parkinson’s disease is the most common type of parkinsonism, but there are also some rarer types where a specific cause can be identified.

      These include parkinsonism caused by:

      • medication where symptoms develop after taking certain medications, such as some types of antipsychotic medication, and usually improve once the medication is stopped
      • other progressive brain conditions such as progressive supranuclear palsy, multiple systems atrophy, and;corticobasal degeneration
      • cerebrovascular disease where a series of small strokes cause several parts of the brain to die

      You can read more about parkinsonism on the Parkinson’s UK website.

      Is Early Diagnosis Possible

      What is Parkinson’s Disease?

      Experts are becoming more aware of symptoms of Parkinsons that precede physical manifestations. Clues to the disease that sometimes show up before motor symptoms and before a formal diagnosis are called prodromal symptoms. These include the loss of sense of smell, a sleep disturbance called REM behavior disorder, ongoing constipation thats not otherwise explained and mood disorders, such as anxiety and depression.

      Research into these and other early symptoms holds promise for even more sensitive testing and diagnosis.

      For example, biomarker research is trying to answer the question of who gets Parkinsons disease. Researchers hope that once doctors can predict that a person with very early symptoms will eventually get Parkinsons disease, those patients can be appropriately treated. At the very least, these advances could greatly delay progression.

      Parkinson’s Disease and Movement Disorders Center

      Our center provides compassionate and timely treatment to patients with movement disorders, such as dystonia, ataxia, essential tremor and similar conditions. But our mission goes beyond patient care excellence. By offering educational events and support groups, we empower patients and caregivers to become better partners in their health.

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      Diagnosis Of Parkinsons Disease

      A number of disorders can cause symptoms similar to those of Parkinson’s disease. People with Parkinson’s-like symptoms that result from other causes are sometimes said to have parkinsonism. While these disorders initially may be misdiagnosed as Parkinson’s, certain medical tests, as well as response to drug treatment, may help to distinguish them from Parkinson’s. Since many other diseases have similar features but require different treatments, it is important to make an exact diagnosis as soon as possible.

      There are currently no blood or laboratory tests to diagnose nongenetic cases of Parkinson’s disease. Diagnosis is based on a person’s medical history and a neurological examination. Improvement after initiating medication is another important hallmark of Parkinson’s disease.

      What Are The Surgical Treatments For Parkinsons Disease

      Most patients with Parkinsons disease can maintain a good quality of life with medications. However, as the disease worsens, medications may no longer be effective in some patients. In these patients, the effectiveness of medications becomes unpredictable reducing symptoms during on periods and no longer controlling symptoms during off periods, which usually occur when the medication is wearing off and just before the next dose is to be taken. Sometimes these variations can be managed with changes in medications. However, sometimes they cant. Based on the type and severity of your symptoms, the failure of adjustments in your medications, the decline in your quality of life and your overall health, your doctor may discuss some of the available surgical options.

      Also Check: What Is The Life Expectancy Of Someone With Parkinson’s Disease

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      Causes Of Parkinson’s Disease

      Alternative Treatment for Parkinson

      Parkinson’s disease is caused by a loss of nerve cells in part of the brain called the substantia nigra. This;leads to a reduction;in a chemical called dopamine in the brain.

      Dopamine plays a vital role in regulating the movement of the body. A reduction in dopamine is responsible for many of the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease.

      Exactly what causes the loss of nerve cells is unclear. Most experts think that a combination of genetic and environmental factors is responsible.

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      What Is The Outlook For Persons With Parkinsons Disease

      Although there is no cure or absolute evidence of ways to prevent Parkinsons disease, scientists are working hard to learn more about the disease and find innovative ways to better manage it, prevent it from progressing and ultimately curing it.

      Currently, you and your healthcare teams efforts are focused on medical management of your symptoms along with general health and lifestyle improvement recommendations . By identifying individual symptoms and adjusting the course of action based on changes in symptoms, most people with Parkinsons disease can live fulfilling lives.

      The future is hopeful. Some of the research underway includes:

      • Using stem cells to produce new neurons, which would produce dopamine.
      • Producing a dopamine-producing enzyme that is delivered to a gene in the brain that controls movement.
      • Using a naturally occurring human protein glial cell-line derived neurotrophic factor, GDNF to protect dopamine-releasing nerve cells.

      Many other investigations are underway too. Much has been learned, much progress has been made and additional discoveries are likely to come.

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