Monday, 21 September 2015 04:54

Parkinson's disease

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Parkinson’s disease 



The degenerative symptoms of Parkinson’ Disease can cause great stress and frustration for the person experiencing the symptoms and the family as a whole.

Hanging with his grandmother was something that Jermaine enjoyed doing. However Jermaine has started to notice that his grandmother hands and legs are beginning to shake uncontrollably. Jermaine has also noticed other symptoms that his grandmother has displayed more recently including paranoia where his grandmother sees things that aren’t present.

What is Parkinson's disease?


Parkinson’ Disease is a disease that attacks the central nervous system which includes the brain and the spinal cord. Once this disease takes control, body movements start to deteriorate to the point that standing, walking, moving and grabbing things become very hard to do. As the Parkinson’s disease progresses other functions of the brain are impacted including memory, behaviours and thought processing. To understand Parkinson’s disease better, I want you imagine that inside your brain there is a steering wheel that is responsible for driving and controlling your body movement. In real terms this steering wheel is called the Basal Ganglia which is a clump of nerve cells. If something happens to the steering wheel that causes it permanent damage (like a broken cog or a damaged cord) then it malfunctions and isn’t able to control the direction that the body is going. This is exactly what happens when the Basal Ganglia is damaged. Communication between the Basal Ganglia and the body is restricted meaning the brain can no longer control and steer body movements properly.  





What Causes Parkinson's disease?


At this stage the jury is out on the exact causes of Parkinson’s disease. Some experts believe that dopamine which is a chemical transmitter in the brain is low in people who have Parkinson’s disease. Dopamine interacts directly with the Basal Ganglia to control and initiate movement.


Another group of factors believed to cause Parkinson’ disease include pesticides and the effects of living on a farm. It is believed by some experts that exposure to heavy metals (greater exposure in a farm environment) and insecticides can have a direct impact on the Basal Ganglia effecting the dopamine neurotransmitters (Goldenberg, 2008).

What Are the Symptoms of Parkinson’s Disease?

Parkinson’s disease effects the motor system and can be identified by the tremors and shakes it causes this system.  The symptoms of Parkinson's disease include uncontrollable shaking of the hands and legs, difficulty maintaining balance and coordination; trouble standing or walking; stiffness; and general slowness.

Parkinson's disease can also cause psychiatric disturbances which can range from mild to severe. This may include speech, cognition, mood, behaviour, and thought disorders. With cognition disturbances a person with Parkinson’s disease may have difficulties with planning, abstract thinking and accessing relevant sensory information (Jankovic, 2008).

Treatment of Parkinson’s disease


There is no cure of Parkinson’s disease however medication, surgery combined with a management plan can relief the symptoms. In the first instance a person suffering from Parkinson’s disease may need to visit their neurologist who can conduct some tests. Once these tests have occurred the doctor can then provide the right cause of action.


Different medications can be provided which help control the tremors and shakes and helps restore dopamine levels in the Basal Ganglia. One drug in particular called Levoda is particularly good at increasing dopamine levels allowing a person to better control movements and actions.


Surgery may also be used to help manage the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease. With surgery certain parts of the brain are targeted or wired with a neurostimulator to supress over or underactivity of neurotransmitters which reduces some of the symptoms (Shulman et al, 2011).








Goldenberg, M.M. (October 2008). "Medical management of Parkinson's disease". P & T 33 (10): 590–606.

Jankovic, J. (April 2008). "Parkinson's disease: clinical features and diagnosis". Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery, and Psychiatry 79 (4): 368–376. 

Shulman, J.M., De Jager, P.L., Feany, M.B. (February 2011) [25 October 2010]. "Parkinson's disease: genetics and pathogenesis.”. Annual review of pathology 6: 193–222

Read 2550 times Last modified on Monday, 21 September 2015 05:01

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