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
Generating Relevant Neuronal Cell Types For Pd
The cellular reprogramming toolbox for researchers is rapidly expanding and includes a panoply of neuronal differentiation protocols to generate cells representing various brain regions. PD is a debilitating motor system disorder resulting from the selective degeneration of midbrain dopamine neurons located in the substantia nigra pars compacta. Protocols have been established to specifically generate dopaminergic neurons and brain cells with a midbrain molecular profile,.
What Are The Surgical Treatments For Parkinsons Disease
Most patients with Parkinsons disease can maintain a good quality of life with medications. However, as the disease worsens, medications may no longer be effective in some patients. In these patients, the effectiveness of medications becomes unpredictable reducing symptoms during on periods and no longer controlling symptoms during off periods, which usually occur when the medication is wearing off and just before the next dose is to be taken. Sometimes these variations can be managed with changes in medications. However, sometimes they cant. Based on the type and severity of your symptoms, the failure of adjustments in your medications, the decline in your quality of life and your overall health, your doctor may discuss some of the available surgical options.
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Studies On Gaucher Disease Parkinson Disease And Lewy Body Dementia
Gaucher disease, Parkinson disease and Lewy body dementia all involve abnormal proteins. Proteins are chemicals that the body uses for many essential functions, and when they do not work properly it can cause problems that range from nondetectable to severe.
Recent findings on the relationship between Gaucher disease, Parkinson disease and LBD include:
- Researchers have found that many of the same genes and proteins are involved in these diseases. Scientists are investigating how this overlap relates to the disease process.
- Patients with Parkinson disease or LBD with mutations in the GCase gene typically have an earlier disease onset and more severe symptoms.
- Imaging studies and tests can help identify early onset Parkinson disease in patients with low GCase enzyme activity. This is why it is so important that patients with Gaucher disease see a specialist regularly who can monitor their health. Learn more about optimizing your health with Gaucher disease.
Why This Disease Occurs
It is not exactly clear why Parkinsons disease occurs. Researchers think that several factors play a role in its development.
Increasing age is the strongest known risk factor for Parkinsons disease. The chances of developing the disease increase significantly as the person gets older. The current estimate shows that 1% of the population over the age of 60 is affected by Parkinsons disease. And it reaches to 5% with over age 80.
Genetics is another important cause of Parkinsons disease development. Approximately 15% of Parkinsons disease cases have a clear-cut genetic origin. Although the rest 85% of cases appear with no apparent cause, researchers believe that it mostly involved some genetic components.
In addition, researchers have identified several environmental factors that are linked to the onset of Parkinsons disease. These include pesticides , emotional or extreme psychological stress, diet-related factors like coenzyme Q10 and vitamin D, traumatic brain injury, and the lack of exercise.
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Living With Parkinson’s Disease
As Parkinson’s develops, a person who has it may slow down and won’t be able to move or talk quickly. Sometimes, speech therapy and occupational therapy are needed. This may sound silly, but someone who has Parkinson’s disease may need to learn how to fall down safely.
If getting dressed is hard for a person with Parkinson’s, clothing with Velcro and elastic can be easier to use than buttons and zippers. The person also might need to have railings installed around the house to prevent falls.
If you know someone who has Parkinson’s disease, you can help by being a good friend.
Average Age Of Parkinson’s Diagnosis
Parkinson’s disease is a brain condition that causes shaking, problems with balance and coordination, and stiffness in your arms and legs. There’s no cure for it, but there are treatments that can help with your symptoms, so an early diagnosis is important.
Doctors believe that most people start to show signs of Parkinson’s disease sometime in middle age. The average age for someone to be diagnosed with Parkinson’s is around 60 years old.
Your odds of developing the condition rise with your age, but only to a certain point it’s more common in people between ages 70 and 80 than it is in people who are between ages 60 and 70. But if you haven’t been diagnosed with Parkinson’s by the time you’re 80 years old, your odds of getting it are small in fact, they’re substantially smaller than they were when you were 60 or 70.
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Parkinsons Is A Progressive Disease Whats Meant By That
Parkinsons is not like a flu or fever that you take antibiotics and recover in 2-3 days. It is a progressive disease that means it develops and becomes worse over time.
At first, some abnormal changes appear in the brain that begins to damage parts of the brain responsible for movements. These changes are gradual and the effect is limited to the brain only.
After 15-20 years, the damage reaches the level where it begins to affect body normal movements. This is the early stage where typical symptoms of the disease start to develop. These early symptoms are mild and appear either on one or both sides of the body. At this stage, the disease can easily be diagnosed clinically.
After 10 years of diagnosis, the brains ability of performing movement functions is severely affected. The symptoms become severe and begins to affect the patients daily life activities. This is called the mid-stage of the disease.
When the disease has passed 20 years, it reaches its advanced stage. At this stage, the symptoms become very severe and most often the patient needs assistance for mobility.
Exposure To Pesticides In The Military
Agent Orange was an herbicide that US troops sprayed in Vietnam from 1961-1971 to kill trees and crops that provided protection and food to the rival army. It is a mixture of two chemicals: 2,4-Dichlorophenoxyacetic acid and 2,4,5-Trichlorophenoxyacetic acid. Agent Orange was also contaminated with Dioxin, a chemical even more damaging than Agent Orange itself, since it is very long-lasting.
The effects of Agent Orange on both the Vietnamese population and on American soldiers has been studied extensively, but with much variability in the results. Birth defects have been attributed to Agent Orange exposure, as well as multiple types of cancer.
With the understanding that the Veteran community served selflessly on behalf of the American people and therefore deserve the protection and support of the American government, the Agent Orange Act was passed in 1991, allowing the Department of Veteran Affairs to declare certain conditions presumptive to exposure to Agent Orange, even if the scientific data associating Agent Orange with that condition was not airtight.
The list of conditions has grown over the years, and in 2010, PD was added. Read here about how veterans who may have been exposed to Agent Orange and have subsequently developed PD are eligible for VA healthcare and disability compensation. APDA offers a free booklet specifically for veterans to help them find the care and support they need.
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What Is The Outlook For Persons With Parkinsons Disease
Although there is no cure or absolute evidence of ways to prevent Parkinsons disease, scientists are working hard to learn more about the disease and find innovative ways to better manage it, prevent it from progressing and ultimately curing it.
Currently, you and your healthcare teams efforts are focused on medical management of your symptoms along with general health and lifestyle improvement recommendations . By identifying individual symptoms and adjusting the course of action based on changes in symptoms, most people with Parkinsons disease can live fulfilling lives.
The future is hopeful. Some of the research underway includes:
- Using stem cells to produce new neurons, which would produce dopamine.
- Producing a dopamine-producing enzyme that is delivered to a gene in the brain that controls movement.
- Using a naturally occurring human protein glial cell-line derived neurotrophic factor, GDNF to protect dopamine-releasing nerve cells.
Many other investigations are underway too. Much has been learned, much progress has been made and additional discoveries are likely to come.
If Its Not Curable Then How Can I Be Treated
Parkinsons disease can be treated either by medication or through surgical approach.
Medication is the most common way of dealing with Parkinsons disease symptoms. There have been developed drugs that not only help to treat the symptoms but also improve the overall quality of life. Commonly known classes of drugs used for Parkinsons disease are L-Dopa, MAO-B inhibitors, Dopamine Agonists, and COMT Inhibitors. These drugs are designed to restore dopamine levels in the brain.
Surgical approach or the deep brain stimulation is a newly introduced treatment approach for treating Parkinsons symptoms. You can be a candidate for deep brain stimulation if youre at the advanced stage of your disease and your symptoms are not well controlled with medication. In this approach, parts of your brain responsible for movement functions are reawakened by using low electric current. This requires a surgery during which a small chip containing electrodes is installed into the brain.
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People Who Already Have Pd: Should I Get Tested And What Do I Do With The Results
Up until recently, even people with PD with a very extensive family history of PD would not necessarily receive genetic testing because there were no clear uses for the results. There has been research directed at figuring out whether PD caused by or associated with certain mutations have particular clinical characteristics . However, there remains so much variability in clinical characteristics even among people with the same PD mutation, that there are still no clear practical implications in knowing whether a PD patient harbors a particular mutation. There is also, so far, no difference in treatment or management of PD whether or not the patient harbors one of the known mutations. That may change however, with the advent of clinical trials that target particular mutations.
There are two genes that have received particular attention recently because medications are being developed that target those with mutations of these genes.
GBAis a gene that increases the risk of developing PD. The gene encodes for the GBA enzyme, a protein used by the body to break down cellular products. Having two abnormal GBA genes causes Gauchers disease, which is characterized by the buildup of these cellular products resulting in fatigue, bone pain, easy bleeding and an enlarged spleen and liver. When a person inherits only one abnormal gene, he or she does not develop Gauchers disease, but does incur a small increased risk of PD. Most people with one mutated GBA gene do not develop PD.
Studies Of Pd With Patient
The discovery of iPSC technology,, has offered the capacity to generate live brain tissue from healthy subjects and patients for studying neurodegenerative diseases. Directed reprogramming and neuronal differentiation of iPSCs allows the study of specific neuronal subtypes. Human-derived neurons offer a unique opportunity for modeling real cases of human genetic diseases in vitro. The ability to generate neurons both from PD patients and healthy control individuals allows the identification of early disease-linked phenotypes and provides a new paradigm for preclinical drug development and validation .
Fig. 3: Using brain cells generated from patient-derived iPSC to study PD in vitro.
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The Importance Of Establishing Parkinsons Prevalence Numbers
Parkinsons Prevalence estimates will help the Parkinsons Foundation attract the attention of federal and state government as well as the pharmaceutical industry to the growing need and urgency in addressing PD. This is an important first step to better understanding who develops PD and why.
The next phase of this study will be to determine the rate of PD diagnosis or incidence, how that has changed over time and what is the rate of mortality among those affected by PD. Determining the prevalence and incidence will allow the PD community to effectively advocate for additional money and resources necessary to support Parkinsons research.
Parkinsons Foundation Prevalence Project numbers highlight the growing importance of optimizing expert Parkinsons care and treatment for people with Parkinsons, which would help future caregivers and ease the strain on health and elder care systems.
By supporting this study, the Foundation works to better understand Parkinsons with the goal of solving this disease. Establishing these numbers and using them to educate PD communities and influence legislation will help the foundation provide tailored resources, outreach and advocacy to the underserved PD populations across the nation. The entire published study is available in the Parkinsons Foundation scientific journal, npj Parkinsons Disease.
Can I Be Cured If I Get Parkinsons Disease
Unfortunately, Parkinsons disease is not curable. There has not been developed a method that completely remove or reverse the disease condition. However, the disease symptoms can be managed with treatment. The medication available today has not only increased the quality of life but also enormously prolonged the life expectancy of patients.
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What Are The Symptoms Of Parkinson’s Disease
The symptoms of Parkinson’s disease include tremors or trembling difficulty maintaining balance and coordination trouble standing or walking stiffness and general slowness.
Over time, a person with Parkinson’s may have trouble smiling, talking, or swallowing. Their faces may appear flat and without expression, but people with Parkinson’s continue to have feelings even though their faces don’t always show it. Sometimes people with the disease can have trouble with thinking and remembering too.
Because of problems with balance, some people with Parkinson’s fall down a lot, which can result in broken bones. Some people with Parkinson’s may also feel sad or depressed and lose interest in the things they used to do.
The symptoms of Parkinson’s disease appear gradually and get worse over time. But because Parkinson’s disease usually develops slowly, most people who have it can live a long and relatively healthy life.
Factors That Protect Against Parkinsons Disease
Besides these risk factors, researchers have identified others that are associated with a reduced risk of Parkinson’s disease onset, including:
- Caffeine. People who consume more caffeine appear to have a reduced risk of developing Parkinson’s disease as opposed to those who only consume a little caffeine or none at all.
- Cigarette smoking. A number of studies have found that people who smoke cigarettes are less likely to develop Parkinson’s disease than those who don’t. But, in fact, it may be that some effect of having Parkinson’s disease makes it less likely that a person would want to smoke, so fewer people with the disease are smokers, skewing the data in favor of those who do smoke. And considering that the dangers of cigarette smoking far outweigh the odds that smoking slightly reduces the risk of Parkinson’s disease, it is never recommended as a prevention measure for Parkinson’s disease.
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How Is Parkinsons Diagnosed
Doctors use your medical history and physical examination to diagnose Parkinson’s disease . No blood test, brain scan or other test can be used to make a definitive diagnosis of PD.
Researchers believe that in most people, Parkinson’s is caused by a combination of environmental and genetic factors. Certain environmental exposures, such as pesticides and head injury, are associated with an increased risk of PD. Still, most people have no clear exposure that doctors can point to as a straightforward cause. The same goes for genetics. Certain genetic mutations are linked to an increased risk of PD. But in the vast majority of people, Parkinsons is not directly related to a single genetic mutation. Learning more about the genetics of Parkinsons is one of our best chances to understand more about the disease and discover how to slow or stop its progression.
Aging is the greatest risk factor for Parkinsons, and the average age at diagnosis is 60. Still, some people get PD at 40 or younger.
Men are diagnosed with Parkinsons at a higher rate than women and whites more than other races. Researchers are studying these disparities to understand more about the disease and health care access and to improve inclusivity across care and research.
Aging is the greatest risk factor for Parkinsons, and the average age at diagnosis is 60. Still, some people get PD at 40 or younger.
The Michael J. Fox Foundation has made finding a test for Parkinsons disease one of our top priorities.
What Is Parkinsons Disease
Parkinsons disease is a progressive brain disorder that affects mobility and mental ability. If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with Parkinsons, you may be wondering about life expectancy.
According to some research, on average, people with Parkinsons can expect to live almost as long as those who dont have the condition.
Besides Medication What Other Approaches Should I Use To Deal With This Disease
Medication can certainly reduce the complications of Parkinsons disease, but its not the only way to deal with it. There are other approaches that you may need to consider in order to feel and live much better with this progressive disease. Here are some of them:
- Educate yourself about the disease