Parkinson’s Surgery: Deep Brain Stimulation
Another treatment method, usually attempted as effectiveness of medical treatments for Parkinson’s disease wane, is termed deep brain stimulation. The technique involves surgery to implant electrodes deep into the brain in the globus pallidus, thalamus, or the subthalamic nucleus areas. Then electric impulses that stimulate the brain tissue to help overcome tremors, rigidity, and slow movements are given. Impulses are generated by a battery. This surgery is not for every Parkinson’s disease patient it is done on patients that meet certain criteria. Also, the surgery does not stop other symptoms and does not end the progression of the disease.
What Causes Parkinsons Disease
Body movements are regulated by a portion of the brain called the basal ganglia, whose cells require a proper balance of two substances called dopamine and acetylcholine, both involved in the transmission of nerve impulses. In Parkinson’s, cells that produce dopamine begin to degenerate, throwing off the balance of these two neurotransmitters. Researchers believe that genetics sometimes plays a role in this cellular breakdown. In rare instances, Parkinson’s disease may be caused by a viral infection or by exposure to environmental toxins such as pesticides, carbon monoxide, or the metal manganese. But in the great majority of Parkinson’s cases, the cause is unknown.
Parkinson’s disease is a form of parkinsonism. This is a more general term used to refer to the set of symptoms that is commonly associated with Parkinson’s disease but sometimes stems from other causes. The distinction is important because some of these other causes may be treatable, while others do not respond to treatment or medication. Other causes of parkinsonism include:
- An adverse reaction to prescription drugs
- Use of illegal drugs
Parkinson’s Or Benign Essential Tremor
Essential tremors may be confused with the tremors in Parkinson’s disease. However, essential tremors usually affect both extremities equally and get worse when the hands are used, in contrast to Parkinson’s tremors. Also, Parkinson’s tremors are reduced or temporally stopped with carbidopa-levodopa medication while essential tremors respond to other medications. Parkinson’s disease does not usually occur in multiple family members but essential tremors do and are more common than Parkinson’s tremors.
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Posture And Balance Difficulties
Movement problems in PD are mostly caused by the diseases impact on dopamine production in the brain. However, as PD progresses to a later stage it begins to cause symptoms tied to other parts of your brain besides those that produce dopamine, a neurotransmitter that helps the brain control and coordinate movement.
Posture is an example. Its not controlled by dopamine. Instead, poor posture may be the result of damage to neurons that produce different chemical messengers such as norepinephrineor acetylcholine. Your posture may become stooped, and you may lean forward as you walk. This affects your balance and makes you likelier to fall forward or backward. About half of people with PD will experience this symptom within five years from the time they were diagnosed.
Is There A Cure For Parkinson’s Disease
Although research is ongoing, to date there is no known cure or way to prevent Parkinson’s disease. But, research has made remarkable progress. There is very real hope that the causes, whether genetic or environmental, will be identified and the precise effects of these causes on brain function will be understood. These remarkable achievements give real hope for the future.
Still, even though there is no cure for Parkinson’s disease, by identifying individual symptoms and determining a proper course of treatment, most people with the disease can live enjoyable, fulfilling lives.
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New Insights Into Parkinson’s Hallucinations
MONDAY, May 3, 2021 — Parkinson’s disease is widely seen as a movement disorder, but it can cause an array of symptoms, including hallucinations. Now a new study has shed light on what is happening in the brain during those disturbances.
The study focused on Parkinson’s patients who have so-called presence hallucinations — a false feeling that another person is nearby.
Researchers found that they were able to induce the hallucinations in a group of Parkinson’s patients using a fairly simple “robot ghost test” — which involved a robotic arm that touched the patient’s back.
That, in turn, allowed them to map the brain activity that seemed to underlie the hallucinations — including disrupted connections in parts of the brain’s frontal and temporal lobes.
Experts said the findings — reported April 28 in the journal Science Translational Medicine — could lead to a better understanding of Parkinson’s hallucinations.
One eventual hope, the researchers said, is to develop an objective way to diagnose and delve into individual patients’ hallucinations.
Right now, diagnosis generally depends on patients telling their doctors about their hallucinations — which many hesitate to do.
So the problem is under-diagnosed, said Fosco Bernasconi, one of the researchers on the study.
Parkinson’s disease affects nearly 1 million people in the United States alone, according to the Parkinson’s Foundation.
Rey has been unbothered by it, though.
How Does Parkinson’s Affect The Body
The telltale symptoms all have to do with the way you move. You usually notice problems like:
Rigid muscles. It can happen on just about any part of your body. Doctors sometimes mistake early Parkinson’s for arthritis.
Slow movements. You may find that even simple acts, like buttoning a shirt, take much longer than usual.
Tremors. Your hands, arms, legs, lips, jaw, or tongue are shaky when you’re not using them.
Walking and balance problems. You may notice your arms aren’t swinging as freely when you walk. Or you can’t take long steps, so you have to shuffle instead.
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Taking Dance A Step Further
Pamela Quinn, a professional dancer and Parkinsonâs coach, tells WebMD that when she was diagnosed with the disease in her 40s, she thought it was the end of dancing.
âBut dance became my savior, not something that needed to be discarded, and the reason is that itâs physical and social and, together with music, has the power to change oneâs mood. And this unusual array of elements is particularly suited to help people with Parkinsonâs,â she says.
When she was first diagnosed, she wanted to have a second child and was âdetermined to find non-chemical ways of improving my gait, balance, and postures.â She began to discover âcues, external prompts that facilitate movement, which are naturally embedded in the dance form.â
When the iPod was developed, it allowed Quinn to âtake dance experience and integrate it into everyday life.â With that, she was not only dancing in a studio whenever she was walking and wearing headphones, she was âreinforcing good movement patterns with music.â
Quinn, who today takes medication and continues to dance, says she is an âoutlierâ in terms of Parkinsonâs disease progression.
âIâve had this disease for over 25 years, and Iâm doing fairly well, which I attribute to the dance background and also integrating these techniques into everyday life so itâs not just once a week in a dance class setting,â she says.
How Can I Better Cope With Having Parkinson’s Disease
The most important step you can take is to seek help as soon as you feel less able to cope with Parkinson’s disease. Taking action early will enable you to understand and deal with the many effects of your condition. A mental health care provider can design a treatment plan to meet your specific needs. Strategies can be designed to help you regain a sense of control over your life and improve your quality of life.
Other steps you can take include the following.
- Find out as much as you can about the illness.
- Talk to your friends and family about it. Don’t isolate them. They will want to be involved in helping you.
- Do things you enjoy.
- Do not be afraid to ask your doctor, nurse, or other health care provider to repeat any instructions or medical terms that you don’t understand or remember. They should always be available to answer your questions and address your concerns.
- Make use of resources and support services offered by your hospital and in your community.
- Learn to manage stress. This will help you to maintain a positive physical, emotional, and spiritual outlook on life. Being stressed out will only make the situation worse. You should try to organize a daily routine that will reduce stress, with down time for both you and your family members.
- If you are depressed — and this is more than just feeling sad occasionally — antidepressants can be prescribed to help lift your mood.
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Treatment: Boosting Dopamines Effects
Your doctor might give you one of these, alone or with another drug:
- Dopamine agonists: They act like dopamine but donât raise levels of it in your brain. You can take them with any drug that has levodopa. You might try pramipexole or ropinirole .
- COMT Inhibitors: They help levodopa last longer. You might get entacapone or tolcapone .
- MAO-B inhibitors: These stop your brain from breaking down levodopa. You could get selegiline or rasagiline .
What Is Parkinson’s Disease
Parkinson’s disease mostly affects older people but can also occur in younger adults. The symptoms are the result of the gradual degeneration of nerve cells in the portion of the midbrain that controls body movements. The first signs are likely to be barely noticeable — a feeling of weakness or stiffness in one limb, or a fine trembling of one hand when it is at rest. Eventually, the shaking worsens and spreads, muscles become stiffer, movements slow down, and balance and coordination deteriorate. As the disease progresses, depression, cognitive issues, and other mental or emotional problems are common.
Parkinson’s disease usually begins between the ages of 50 and 65, striking about 1% of the population in that age group it is slightly more common in men than in women. Medication can treat its symptoms and decrease the disability.
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What Does Parkinson’s Do To The Brain
Deep down in your brain, there’s an area called the substantia nigra, which is in the basal ganglia. Some of its cells make dopamine, a chemical that carries messages around your brain. When you need to scratch an itch or kick a ball, dopamine quickly carries a message to the nerve cell that controls that movement.
When that system is working well, your body moves smoothly and evenly. But when you have Parkinson’s, the cells of your substantia nigra start to die. There’s no replacing them, so your dopamine levels drop and you can’t fire off as many messages to control smooth body movements.
Early on, you won’t notice anything different. But as more and more cells die, you reach a tipping point where you start to have symptoms.
That may not be until 80% of the cells are gone, which is why you can have Parkinson’s for quite a while before you realize it.
How Will My Doctor Test For It
There’s no one test for Parkinson’s. A lot of it’s based on your symptoms and health history, but it could take some time to figure it out. Part of the process is ruling out other conditions that look like Parkinson’s. The docotor may do a DaT scan, which looks for dopamine in the brain. This can aid in a diagnosis.
Because there is no single test, it’s very important to go to a doctor who knows a lot about it, early on. It’s easy to miss.
If you do have it, your doctor might use what’s called the Hoehn and Yahr scale to tell you what stage of the disease you’re in. It ranks how severe your symptoms are from 1 to 5, where 5 is the most serious.
The stage can help you get a better feel for where your symptoms fall and what to expect as the disease gets worse. But keep in mind, some people could take up to 20 years to move from mild to more serious symptoms. For others, the change is much faster.
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Can Symptoms Be Prevented
Currently, there is nothing that can prevent symptoms of Parkinson’s disease although treatment can reduce symptoms. Statistically, people who drink coffee and smokers have a lower incidence of Parkinson’s disease, but they may develop other problems due to these habits . Since researchers speculate that about 90% of Parkinson’s disease is due to a combination of genetic and environmental causes, avoiding certain environmental triggers may prevent some individuals from developing the disease. In addition, researchers are trying to find medications or supplements that can protect the brain cells that produce dopamine.
Changes In The Way You Think
Some people with Parkinsonâs have cognitive changes. That means you may have a harder time focusing, finishing tasks, forming thoughts, thinking of words, and remembering things. When these changes affect your day-to-day life, it becomes dementia.
How can I manage them?
- Exercise regularly, eat a healthy diet, and get enough sleep.
- Clear your home of clutter. Reducing things in the world around you may help with confusion.
- Create a regular routine. You may feel more comfortable with a structured day.
What are the treatments? These changes may be a medication side effect talk to your doctor.
You may need to see an occupational therapist, who can teach you ways to make daily life easier. A speech therapist can help with language issues. There are also some Alzheimerâs drugs that treat these cognitive symptoms.
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Report Problems With Your Medications To The Fda
You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit the FDA MedWatch website or call 1-800-FDA-1088.
For more information, visit the Duke Health Neurological Disorders Center
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What Causes Motor Fluctuations
Motor fluctuations are caused by a drop in brain levels of dopamine, the chemical that helps your body move smoothly. When you have Parkinson’s, your nerve cells no longer make enough of it.
Taking levodopa acts as a replacement for the dopamine, but as the medicine wears off, the levels of the chemical in your brain drop again. Early in the disease, nerve cells in your brain are able to make enough dopamine so that you don’t have any Parkinson’s symptoms when levodopa wears off.
As your Parkinson’s advances, these nerve cells start to break down. When that happens, your brain can no longer make up for the drop in dopamine levels when your medicine wears off. That’s when you’ll start to notice a return of symptoms like stiffness, tremor, tiredness, or mood changes.
Another reason you might get motor fluctuations is that you have slow movement through your digestive system. That means medicines like levodopa can’t get absorbed from your gut as quickly as they once did.
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The 5 Stages Of Parkinsons Disease
Getting older is underrated by most. Its a joyful experience to sit back, relax and watch the people in your life grow up, have kids of their own and flourish. Age can be a beautiful thing, even as our bodies begin to slow down. We spoke with David Shprecher, DO, movement disorders director at Banner Sun Health Research Institute about a well-known illness which afflicts as many as 2% of people older than 65, Parkinsons Disease.
What Are Motor Symptoms Of Parkinson’s Disease During The Mild Stage
During the mild stage of Parkinson’s disease, symptoms usually dont stop you from doing most tasks — and drugs usually work well to keep them in check.
You might notice:
- Your arms dont swing as freely when you walk
- You cant make facial expressions
- Your legs feel heavy
- Posture becomes a little stooped
- Handwriting gets smaller
- Your arms or legs get stiff
- You have symptoms only on one side of your body, like a tremor in one arm
UpToDate: Clinical Manifestations of PD.
Parkinsons Disease Foundation: What Is Parkinsons Disease? Understanding the Progression of Parkinson’s Disease.
U.S. National Library of Medicine: Non-motor Symptoms of Parkinson Disease: Update on the Diagnosis and Treatment, Premotor and non-motor features of Parkinsons disease, The progression of non-motor symptoms in Parkinson’s disease and their contribution to motor disability and quality of life.
European Parkinsons Disease Association: Parkinsons Progression.
Parkinson Canada: Progression of Parkinsons Disease.
Partners in Parkinsons: What Are the Stages of Parkinsons Disease?
Northwest Parkinsons Foundation: Stages of PD, Disease Progression, About Parkinsons.
American Parkinson Disease Association: Common Symptoms of Parkinsons Disease.
National Parkinson Foundation: Non-Motor Symptoms.
National Institute of Mental Health: What Is Psychosis?