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How Does Parkinson’s Affect The Nervous System

The Complete Explanation For Parkinson’s Disease

What is Parkinson’s disease? | Nervous system diseases | NCLEX-RN | Khan Academy

Notwithstanding the types of sudden onset PD caused by blows to the head or acute chemical poisoning, we now have a complete, simple and elegant framework of understanding of “Ideopathic” Parkinson’s Disease, which is readily explained as follows.

With the weakening of the Smart VN and associated Cranial Nerves, go all their functions outlined previously, leading, precisely, to all the well known major non-motor symptoms of Parkinson’s Disease. Facial expressiveness is lost and the face becomes a blank mask. Use of the larynx and muscles in the throat are lost, causing the problems with speech and vocalizations, swallowing, chewing and saliva control. The ability to rotate and tilt the head is lost and the neck becomes extremely stiff and painful. The ability to raise the arms is lost and shoulders become painful and frozen. The sense of balance provided by the ear is lost, causing falls. The ability to experience positive emotional states, and to read these in the faces of others, is lost and anti-socialness increases, leading to feelings of isolation.

As the Freeze response of the Vegetative VN becomes more easily excited, its other role in regulating rest and digest function is inhibited, resulting in the appearance of the gastric problems associated with PD , together with imbalances in the gut microbiome.

If these negative feedback cycles are not interrupted, these vicious circles lead to the apparently degenerative nature of Parkinson’s Disease.

Symptoms Of Parkinsons Disease

Parkinson’s disease has four main symptoms:

  • Tremor in hands, arms, legs, jaw, or head
  • Stiffness of the limbs and trunk
  • Slowness of movement
  • Impaired balance and coordination, sometimes leading to falls

Other symptoms may include depression and other emotional changes difficulty swallowing, chewing, and speaking urinary problems or constipation skin problems and sleep disruptions.

Symptoms of Parkinsons and the rate of progression differ among individuals. Sometimes people dismiss early symptoms of Parkinson’s as the effects of normal aging. In most cases, there are no medical tests to definitively detect the disease, so it can be difficult to diagnose accurately.

Early symptoms of Parkinson’s disease are subtle and occur gradually. For example, affected people may feel mild tremors or have difficulty getting out of a chair. They may notice that they speak too softly, or that their handwriting is slow and looks cramped or small. Friends or family members may be the first to notice changes in someone with early Parkinson’s. They may see that the person’s face lacks expression and animation, or that the person does not move an arm or leg normally.

People with Parkinson’s often develop a parkinsonian gait that includes a tendency to lean forward, small quick steps as if hurrying forward, and reduced swinging of the arms. They also may have trouble initiating or continuing movement.

How Does Neuron Dysfunction Affect Parkinsons Patients

Parkinsons disease is a disorder that affects the brain and the nervous system of its sufferers.

Over time, neurons in the regions of the brain that control movement degenerate, leading to a loss of motor control and a host of primary and secondary symptoms. People with Parkinsons disease often experience tremors and shaking, a slow, shuffling walk, and an occasional sensation of being frozen in place, incapable of voluntary movement. Parkinsons sufferers also routinely experience other, more subtle, motor symptoms, such as very small, cramped handwriting, a rigid, mask-like facial expression, and difficulty controlling the tone and volume of their voice.

These symptoms are caused by dysfunction in the neurons that control movement. These densely packed nerve endings in the brain and throughout the body send and receive chemical signals relating to movement. In Parkinsons, these neurons lose their ability to produce dopamine, a chemical messenger essential to transmitting these signals. This leads to random firing of the neurons and compromised movement. Eventually, Parkinsons often effects other body systems, causing digestive, urinary, skin, and psychiatric problems.

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Who Gets Parkinsons Disease

Estimates vary, but about 1 million people are living with Parkinsons disease in the U.S. Doctors diagnose about 60,000 cases a year, most in people over age 60. Younger people can also get Parkinsons. About 5-10% of patients have young-onset Parkinsons disease, diagnosed before age 50.

About 15% of patients have Parkinsons-plus syndromes, also known as atypical Parkinsons. Medications may be less effective for these syndromes, which can lead to disability sooner.

Risk factors for Parkinsons disease include:

  • Age: Risk increases with age. Average age at diagnosis is 65.
  • Gender: Men are at higher risk.
  • Environmental exposure: Lifetime exposure to well water, which may contain pesticide runoff, can increase risk. So can exposure to air particles containing heavy metals, such as in industrial areas.
  • Family history: Having a close relative with the disease could increase your risk. Researchers have identified a dozen genes that may be linked to Parkinsons disease.
  • Sleep disorder: People who act out their dreams are up to 12 times more likely to develop Parkinsons disease. Its not clear whether this condition, called REM sleep behavior disorder or RBD, is a cause or symptom of Parkinsons disease.
  • Head trauma: Traumatic brain injury increases risk of Parkinsons, even years later.

What Lifestyle Changes Can I Make To Ease Parkinsons Symptoms


Exercise: Exercise helps improve muscle strength, balance, coordination, flexibility, and tremor. It is also strongly believed to improve memory, thinking and reduce the risk of falls and decrease anxiety and depression. One study in persons with Parkinsons disease showed that 2.5 hours of exercise per week resulted in improved ability to move and a slower decline in quality of life compared to those who didnt exercise or didnt start until later in the course of their disease. Some exercises to consider include strengthening or resistance training, stretching exercises or aerobics . All types of exercise are helpful.

Eat a healthy, balanced diet: This is not only good for your general health but can ease some of the non-movement related symptoms of Parkinsons, such as constipation. Eating foods high in fiber in particular can relieve constipation. The Mediterranean diet is one example of a healthy diet.

Preventing falls and maintaining balance: Falls are a frequent complication of Parkinson’s. While you can do many things to reduce your risk of falling, the two most important are: 1) to work with your doctor to ensure that your treatments whether medicines or deep brain stimulation are optimal and 2) to consult with a physical therapist who can assess your walking and balance. The physical therapist is the expert when it comes to recommending assistive devices or exercise to improve safety and preventing falls.

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Is There A Cure For Parkinsons

Theres currently no cure for Parkinsons, a disease that is chronic and worsens over time. More than 50,000 new cases are reported in the United States each year. But there may be even more, since Parkinsons is often misdiagnosed.

Its reported that Parkinsons complications was the

Complications from Parkinsons can greatly reduce quality of life and prognosis. For example, individuals with Parkinsons can experience dangerous falls, as well as blood clots in the lungs and legs. These complications can be fatal.

Proper treatment improves your prognosis, and it increases life expectancy.

It may not be possible to slow the progression of Parkinsons, but you can work to overcome the obstacles and complications to have a better quality of life for as long as possible.

Parkinsons disease is not fatal. However, Parkinsons-related complications can shorten the lifespan of people diagnosed with the disease.

Having Parkinsons increases a persons risk for potentially life threatening complications, like experiencing:

  • falls

Parkinsons often causes problems with daily activities. But very simple exercises and stretches may help you move around and walk more safely.

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.

Page last reviewed: 30 April 2019 Next review due: 30 April 2022

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Treatment For The Motor Symptoms Of Parkinsons Disease

Managing Parkinson’s disease with medications | Nervous system diseases | NCLEX-RN | Khan Academy

There are many ways to deal with Parkinsons disease motor symptoms, including medications, occupational therapy and lifestyle adjustments. You may find that tremors make you more susceptible to accidents such as tripping, falling or spilling hot liquids so you must take care and ask for the help and support you need.

Unlike other Parkinsons motor symptoms, tremors can be hard to treat with medication. However, medicines can be helpful for treating symptoms such as Parkinsons disease gait impairments, which can have a major impact on your life. The gait of Parkinsons disease presents slightly differently in each patient. Some experience the Parkinsons disease shuffling gate, which can make movement markedly slower and make it look like you are dragging your feet. You may also experience reduced arm movement while walking.

In Parkinsons disease, freezing of gait is characterized by hesitation before stepping forward, or a feeling like your feet have frozen to the floor. Frozen gait usually only lasts for a step or two, but you will need to be careful when crossing busy streets and try to minimize your risk of falling wherever possible.

You can talk to your doctor about medications to try, as well your surgical and homeopathic options. However, there is no cure for Parkinsons disease and no way to stop the symptoms entirely, but scientists are working to change that.

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Beyond The Substantia Nigra

In Parkinsons, other areas of the brain beyond the substantia nigra are involved as the condition progresses. Changes in higher brain areas are linked to non-motor symptoms that can affect people with Parkinsons later on in the condition, and often have a significant impact on quality of life.

For instance, symptoms that affect memory and thinking can be linked to the presence of Lewy bodies in the largest area of the brain the cerebral cortex as well as the limbic system. The limbic system is also believed to be involved in symptoms involving mood and pain, and similar changes in the inferior temporal gyrus, an area of the brain involved in processing what we see, are thought to be the reason for hallucinations.

But research into the spread of Parkinsons through these areas, and how we can stop it , is just one side of the story. There is also ongoing research into where Parkinsons starts, and the effects it is having before it reaches these areas.

The presence of non-motor symptoms many months and maybe even years before the physical symptoms, such as tremor and slowness of movement, points towards the presence of other changes in the body long before the loss of dopamine-producing cells in the substantia nigra. These early symptoms could even help researchers predict those who will go on to be diagnosed with Parkinsons, which would help in the development of new and better treatments.

When People Talk About Parkinsons They May Mention The Effects It Has On The Substantia Nigra But Did You Know That There Are Other Areas Of The Brain That Are Affected By The Condition

Parkinsons is a condition that causes the gradual loss of the dopamine-producing brain cells of the substantia nigra an area of the brain located just above where the spinal cord meets the midbrain. It is these cells that produce and release the neurotransmitter dopamine, which has a key role in turning thought about movement into action.

While this definition of the condition is useful to briefly explain Parkinsons, the whole story is somewhat more complex. Over the last 30 years, it has become accepted that Parkinsons also causes a number of non-motor symptoms, such as changes in sleep, smell and even the way we think, which likely involve other areas of the brain.

Now scientists are looking at the broader effects of the condition on the brain in an attempt to better understand why people experience different symptoms. The finding could lead us to new treatments that tackle more than just the motor symptoms of the condition.

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How Is Parkinson’s Disease Diagnosed

Someone with the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease may be sent to see a neurologist, a doctor who specializes in the brain, nerves, and muscles. The neurologist may do some tests, including a brain scan and blood tests. These tests will not make the diagnosis of Parkinson’s disease, but the doctor will want to make sure that there is no other problem causing the symptoms. To diagnose Parkinson’s disease, the doctor relies on a person’s medical history, symptoms, and a physical exam.

How Does Parkinsons Disease Affect The Body

Gastrointestinal dysfunction in Parkinson

Recognising the signs

A combination of signs can help a doctor make an early diagnosis. If Parkinsons disease is diagnosed early, the chances of being able to treat and manage the condition are greater. Individual signs may not be an indication of Parkinsons disease. Some signs such as loss of smell could be caused by an infectious illness, or joint stiffness by conditions like arthritis.

Parkinsons is most commonly diagnosed with a very physical examination and assessment of a persons medical history. There are very specific markers for diagnosis which doctors use to assess for possible Parkinsons disease. These markers have a lot to do with a combination of very specific signs and symptoms and if recognised early enough, can be better managed.

1. Primary motor symptoms

Other motor symptoms include:

Some individuals may also experience the following:

  • Hunched over / stooped posture When standing, the body may begin to slouch or lean inwards, causing a hunched over appearance.
  • Impaired gross motor coordination
  • Impaired fine motor dexterity and motor coordination
  • Difficulties with swallowing or chewing
  • Cramping
  • Production of excess saliva and drooling
  • Sexual dysfunction
  • Akathisia

3. Non-motor symptoms

Symptoms that do not involve physical movement or coordination, and often precede motor problems, can include:

Symptoms are initially mild, even if they develop suddenly, and typically affect one side of the body at first.

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What Are The Treatments

Currently there is no cure for Parkinsons disease.

Symptoms can be mild in the early stages of the condition and people might not need immediate treatment. Your doctor and specialist will monitor your situation.

There are several different types of drugs used to treat Parkinsons disease. Drug treatments are tailored to each individuals needs and are likely to involve a combination of different drugs. Your medication should be reviewed regularly. It is likely that, over time, changes will be made to the types of drugs you take and the doses you take each day.

The main types of drug treatment for Parkinsons disease are:

  • drugs which replace dopamine
  • drugs which mimic the role of dopamine
  • drugs which inhibit the activity of acetylcholine
  • drugs which prevent the body breaking down dopamine
  • other drugs such as anti-sickness medication

Everybody is affected differently by medication. The possible side effects of Parkinsons disease drugs include nausea , vomiting , tiredness and dizziness. Some people might experience confusion, nightmares and hallucinations. For some people, dopamine agonists have been linked to compulsive behaviour such as addictive gambling or hypersexuality .

The effectiveness of the main drug treatment levodopa can wear off over time and its long-term use can cause some people to develop involuntary twisting or writhing movements of the arms, legs or face . To reduce the risk, doctors might delay the use of levodopa for younger people.

Sc Mechanisms For Neuronal Repair And Regeneration

Schwann cells are a type of peripheral glial cell originating from the neural crest that initially differentiate into SC precursor cells, then immature SCs, and finally into myelinating and non-myelinating cells that retain the ability to dedifferentiate to an immature SC state . SCs secrete a basal lamina composed of growth-promoting laminin, type IV collagen, and heparin sulfate proteoglycans , which are critical for the SC myelinating function. More importantly, SCs proliferating after nerve injury may form a channel that promotes axonal regeneration along residual SC structures known as Büngner bands . In contrast, oligodendrocytes in the CNS do not secrete basal lamina, so the healthy CNS is free of these basal lamina components except at the pial surface and sites of contact between astrocytes and blood vessels . SC maturation is accompanied by the establishment of autocrine circuits involving platelet-derived growth factor, insulin-like growth factor-1, and neurotrophin-3 that allow SCs to survive after nerve injury and promote peripheral nerve regeneration . Up to 30 or 40% of oligodendrocytes may be lost following CNS injury, and those that survive may be unable to support neuroregeneration . SC autocrine and cytokine secretion functions are not limited to the PNS, as demonstrated in animal models and clinical trials of SC transplantation into the brain.

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The Complete Explanation For Parkinsons Disease

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