Parkinson's Disease

By: Benjamin Boulton

What is Parkinson's disease?

Parkinson's Disease is a disease of the nervous system. It affects the cells in the part of the brain called the substantia nigra. The cells in the substantia nigra produce a neurotransmitter called dopamine. Dopamine helps transmit the electrical signals from your brain to your nerves that tell muscles when to move. With very little dopamine or none at all you movements would become very uncoordinated, uncontrollable, or not possible. Parkinson's disease kills the cells that produce dopamine. Gradually over time this results in less and less dopamine being produced. With less and less dopamine being produced the symptoms of Parkinson's disease such as tremors, rigid muscles, trouble balancing, and bradykinesia begin to happen.
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How do you get Parkinson's disease?

The cause of Parkinson's disease is unknown. However some risk factors have been identified. Some of these risk factors include:


Your age: The older you are the more likely you are to get Parkinson's disease.


Genetics: If someone in your immediate family has the disease you are more likely to get it.


Exposure to certain toxins: Pesticides and herbicides are associated with increased risk of getting Parkinson's disease.


Gender. If you are male you are more likely to get Parkinson's disease.

What Parkinson's disease looks like in the brain.

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Can you cure Parkinson's disease?

No, there is no known cure to Parkinson's disease. The only things that can be done to help you if you have Parkinson's disease is to be given drugs that help reduce some of the symptoms and a surgery that could help. The the drug that tends to work best with people with Parkinson's disease is Carbidopa-levodopa. This drug helps people with Parkinson's disease by going into their brain where it is then changed to dopamine. It is most often combined with another drug so that Carbidopa-levodopa doesn't doesn't have some of it's side affects.

How does Parkinson's disease affect everyday life?

Parkinson's affects how you operate in everyday life. The symptoms of Parkinson's disease such as shakiness and trouble balancing make it hard to navigate around and you have to be given a walker. Then also it is hard to eat because your hands shake so bad the food falls off the utensil or you can't get it into your mouth. Some of the other symptoms such as softened speech and rigid muscles also make daily life hard for people with Parkinson's disease.

Who does it affect?

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Conections

My great uncle has Parkinson's disease. When I visited him recently I learned a couple ways I can help him. He has trouble starting to walk. He uses several different methods to help him initiate movement in his legs.