Parkinson's Disease

By: Skylar Hicks

What Is It?

Parkinson's disease involves the death of important nerve cells. . The dying neurons make dopamine, a chemical that sends message to the brain. As this disease becomes a person can no longer control their movement.


tremor of the arms,hands, and legs

bradykinesia, or slowness of movement

stiffness of the limbs or trunk

impaired balance or coordination

Diagnosis- The doctor performs an examination, even though there is no diagnostic tests for this disease. The test is based on clinical information provided by the person with the disease and the results of the exam.

Common?- Parkinson's disease occurs in 13 per 100,000 people and 60,000 new cases are identified each year.

How does a person get it?

Many people in the U.S. have Parkinson's disease. The symptoms usually are common older people, 50 and older . It's more likely to get the disease if a relative in your family has it. It's not contagious. Scientists have found that a genetic mutations may cause the development of this disease. Thirteen mutations have been identified , but only affect a small amount of people with this disease. Scientists have said the disease may be due to exposure to an environmental toxin or injury. Factors that are linked to the disease are rural living, pesticides, and well water. Long exposure to these factors may result in the symptoms of PD. A neurotoxin called MPTP can also cause people to be prone to PD. This agent was found in 1980 in people who injected themselves with a synthetic form of heroin contaminated by MPTP.

What's Going Wrong?

In Parkinson's disease the neurons that make dopamine tend to die off in the basal ganglia, which is a portion of the brain that controls movement. The brain can no longer control the body and then it starts to jerk and have spasms. One part of the brain that is hurt by the disease is the substantia nigra, which contains neurons that send signals in the form of dopamine. When the neurons in this portion of the brain degenerate, the alteration of dopamine, make the nerve cells of the striatum to fire extremely.

Can We Treat It?

Parkinson's Disease cannot be cured, but medications can help manage your symptoms. Medications include Carbidopa- levodopa, Carbidopa -levodopa infusion, dopamine agionists, MAO-B inhibitors, Catechol-o-methyltransferase inhibitors, Anticholinergics, and Amantadine.

Carbidopa-levodopa , is a chemical that passes through your brain and is turned into dopamine. Levodopa is mixed with carbidopa, which shields levodopa from early conversion dopamine, which lessens the side effect of nausea. It approves and allows mobility.

Dopamine agionists mock the effects of dopamine without it having to be converted. The agionist supplement function that has been lost as dopamine producing neurons die.

MOA-inhibitors inhibit an enzyme that breaks down Levodopa. It offers neuroprotection.

Catechol-o-methyltrasnferase inhibitors- help blocks the enzyme that breaks down dopamine.

Anticholinergics- This medication was used to control tremor and shaking, caused by Parkinson's disease.

Amantadine- physicians may give you this medication to provide relief to the short-term causes of Parkinson's .

How it effects the life of the patient and family

Gambling and hyper sexuality might occur in patient with this disease. An impulse control disorder is described as an ability to resist an impulse that is hurtful to others. These are driven by things like sex and gambling, and abuse of their medications. Parkinson's patients may also participate in pathological shopping and eating. These problems are more common in men than women with Parkinson's. More than one of these impulse behaviors occur at once, with the support of other behaviors like hallucinations and anxiety. These impulse behaviors can destroy relationships with the patients and their families, since they can be harmed in the making.

Additional Info

This disease was first discovered in 1817 by doctor James Parkinson. Celebrities such as Muhammad Ali and Micheal Jay Fox and Robin Williams have this disease. The youngest person with Parkinson's is 12 years old. The U.S. spends over 25 billion dollars on Parkinson's disease research and treatment. One in every 200 people are diagnosed with Parkinson's disease every year. There is currently no cure for this disease.
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