How Does Parkinsons Affect The Brain
When the disease occurs, some nerve cells might break down or die gradually.
Though due to this the dopamine level of your brain decreases, & if the dopamine decreases, the brain will start behaving in an abnormal way.
Albeit, people often get confused over the two terms Alzheimers & Parkinsons well both the disease are caused by damaged brain cells..but there are huge differences.
Coping With A Parkinsons Diagnosis
A diagnosis of Parkinsons can be a frightening experience for both you and your loved ones. While there is currently no cure, there are treatments available for Parkinsons symptoms and lifestyle changes you can make to slow the progression of the disease and delay the onset of more debilitating symptoms, including Parkinsons disease dementia. Early diagnosis can prolong independence and help you to live life fully for much longer.
If youve been diagnosed with Parkinsons you may feel anger, deep sadness, or fear about what the future will bring. These feelings are all normal. Its also normal to grieve as you deal with this enormous adjustment.
Give yourself some time to adjust. As with any major change in life, dont expect that you will smoothly snap into this new transition. You may feel alright for a while, and then suddenly feel stressed and overwhelmed again. Take time to adjust to this new transition.
Learn all you can about Parkinsons disease and Parkinsons disease dementia. Educating yourself and making important decisions early can help you feel more in control during this difficult time.
Reach out for support. Living with Parkinsons presents many challenges, but there is help available for this journey. The more you reach out to others and get support, the more youll be able to cope with symptoms while continuing to enrich and find meaning in your life.
Degeneration Of Neurotransmitter Systems
More widespread dopaminergic deficits in the brain
By definition, all patients with PD have a moderate-to-severe loss of dopaminergic neurons in the nigrostriatal projection pathway. More widespread degeneration of dopaminergic terminals in the striatum particularly denervation of dopaminergic terminals in the associative dorsal caudate nucleus occurs in those with PD-MCI than in those with PD without cognitive impairment . However, in patients with PD-MCI, there is relative preservation of other dopaminergic systems in the brain, whilst those with PDD have a considerable loss of the lateral dopaminergic system to frontal, parietal and temporal cortical regions . In healthy individuals, cortical dopamine modulation can boost working memory as well as visuospatial and attentional processing, and promotes cognitive effort,, suggesting a key role for dopamine in cognitive function.
Fig. 2: Neurotransmitter deficits associated with cognitive decline in PD and DLB.
Noradrenergic locus coeruleus and sympathetic systems
Basal forebrain cholinergic systems
Serotonergic dysfunction is not directly related to cognitive decline
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Theres A Spectrum Of Pathologies
Scientists have been examining this linkand how the two diseases often overlapfor some time, but still arent completely certain how they contribute to one another. As a result, physicians sometimes group the diseases into different combinations when making diagnoses.
Dementia in Parkinsons patients can present itself in varying forms. In some cases, the Parkinsons pathology can trigger the dementia pathologya situation that results in whats known as Parkinsons disease dementia, says Dr. Aaron Ritter, Director of the Clinical Research Program at the Cleveland Clinic Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health.
A substantial subset of folks with Parkinsons who live long enough, will develop dementia, Ritter said.Its separate from Alzheimers, but its likely related to Parkinsons pathology, a sort of spreading of Parkinsons.
In other cases, patients may develop a form of dementia like Alzheimers separately from their Parkinsons disease, though this isnt visible until after death, through an autopsy.
Many people with Parkinsons may also develop Lewy body dementia shortly after their diagnosis. When you have Parkinsons, and see cognitive declineor things like hallucinations and delusionsup to a year after your Parkinsons diagnosis, you may have Lewy body dementia, Oguh said.
Support Groups For Parkinsons With Or Without Dementia
Parkinsons disease is tough to live with, both for the person affected and their family. Support groups are filled with people who are going through very similar experiences. Theyre a great place to safely vent frustrations, get new ideas for how to cope or solve problems, and learn about helpful resources.
Check with these organizations to find a support group in your area:
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Behaviors Seen In Parkinsons Disease Dementia
As dementia progresses, managing disorientation, confusion, agitation, and impulsivity can be a key component of care.
Some patients experience hallucinations or delusions as a complication of Parkinsons disease. These may be frightening and debilitating. Approximately 50 percent of those with the disease may experience them.
The best thing to do when giving care to someone experiencing hallucinations or delusions from Parkinsons disease dementia is to keep them calm and reduce their stress.
Take note of their symptoms and what they were doing before they exhibited signs of hallucinating and then let their doctor know.
This element of the disease can be particularly challenging for caregivers. Patients may become unable to care for themselves or be left alone.
Some ways to make caregiving easier include:
- sticking to a normal routine whenever possible
- being extra comforting after any medical procedures
- limiting distractions
- using curtains, nightlights, and clocks to help stick to a regular sleep schedule
- remembering that the behaviors are a factor of the disease and not the person
Our Eyes May Provide Early Warning Signs Of Alzheimers And Parkinsons
Forget the soul it turns out the eyes may be the best window to the brain. Changes to the retina may foreshadow Alzheimers and Parkinsons diseases, and researchers say a picture of your eye could assess your future risk of neurodegenerative disease.
Pinched off from the brain during embryonic development, the retina contains layers of neurons that seem to experience neurodegenerative disease along with their cousins inside the skull. The key difference is that these retinal neurons, right against the jellylike vitreous of the eyeball, live and die where scientists can see them.
Early detection is sort of the holy grail, said Ron Petersen, director of Mayo Clinics Alzheimers Disease Research Center and the Mayo Clinic Study of Aging. By the time a patient complains of memory problems or tremors, the machinery of neurodegenerative disease has been at work probably for years or decades.
Experts liken it to a cancer that only manifests symptoms at Stage 3 or 4. When patients begin to feel neurodegenerative diseases impact on their daily life, its almost too late for treatment.
Catching the warning signs of neurodegenerative disease earlier could give patients more time to plan for the future whether thats making caregiving arrangements, spending more time with family or writing the Great American novel.
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What Causes Lewy Body Dementia
The causes of LBD are not yet well understood, but research is ongoing in this area. There are probably multiple factors involved, including genetic and environmental risk factors that combine with natural aging processes to make someone susceptible to LBD.
For more information, visit www.lbda.org.
Modified with permission from the Lewy Body Dementia Association
To learn more about motor symptoms related to Parkinsons, visit here.
To learn more about non-motor symptoms related to Parkinsons, visit here.
Medicines For Parkinson’s Disease
Medicines prescribed for Parkinson’s include:
- Drugs that increase the level of dopamine in the brain
- Drugs that affect other brain chemicals in the body
- Drugs that help control nonmotor symptoms
The main therapy for Parkinson’s is levodopa, also called L-dopa. Nerve cells use levodopa to make dopamine to replenish the brain’s dwindling supply. Usually, people take levodopa along with another medication called carbidopa. Carbidopa prevents or reduces some of the side effects of levodopa therapysuch as nausea, vomiting, low blood pressure, and restlessnessand reduces the amount of levodopa needed to improve symptoms.
People with Parkinson’s should never stop taking levodopa without telling their doctor. Suddenly stopping the drug may have serious side effects, such as being unable to move or having difficulty breathing.
Other medicines used to treat Parkinsons symptoms include:
- Dopamine agonists to mimic the role of dopamine in the brain
- MAO-B inhibitors to slow down an enzyme that breaks down dopamine in the brain
- COMT inhibitors to help break down dopamine
- Amantadine, an old antiviral drug, to reduce involuntary movements
- Anticholinergic drugs to reduce tremors and muscle rigidity
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Are You Afraid Thinking Can Parkinson Cause Dementia
Can Parkinson Cause Dementia? Well, to know the answer to this questionyou must know about the disease first.
Though, Parkinsons disease is a kind of movement disorderit tightens the musclemakes them rigid& people suffering from Parkinson, find it very difficult to do daily activities.
Moreover, its a very chronic disease that progresses & doesnt go away with time.
Well, its true that the disease doesnt go away with time, but still, there you can suppress it & has a healthy life.
Are There Medicines To Treat Pdd
Though there is no cure for PDD yet, there are medications that help manage the symptoms. These medications are called cholinesterase inhibitors, and they can help if a person with PDD is having memory problems. Some examples of these medicines are donepezil, rivastigmine and galantamine. Sleep problems may be managed by sleep medications such as melatonin.
Because people with PDD are usually very sensitive to medications, any new medication, even one that is not being used for the brain, needs to be reviewed with the persons provider to avoid potential contraindication.
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What Are The Symptoms Of Parkinson Disease
Parkinson disease symptoms usually start out mild, and then progressively get much worse. The first signs are often so subtle that many people don’t seek medical attention at first. These are common symptoms of Parkinson disease:
- Tremors that affect the face and jaw, legs, arms, and hands
- Slow, stiff walking
How Is Parkinson Disease Diagnosed
Parkinson disease can be hard to diagnose. No single test can identify it. Parkinson can be easily mistaken for another health condition. A healthcare provider will usually take a medical history, including a family history to find out if anyone else in your family has Parkinson’s disease. He or she will also do a neurological exam. Sometimes, an MRI or CT scan, or some other imaging scan of the brain can identify other problems or rule out other diseases.
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How Is Parkinsons Disease Dementia Diagnosed
No single test can diagnose Parkinsons disease dementia. Instead, doctors rely on a series or combination of tests and indicators.
Your neurologist will likely diagnose you with Parkinsons and then track your progression. They may monitor you for signs of dementia. As you get older, your risk for Parkinsons dementia increases.
Your doctor is more likely to conduct regular testing to monitor your cognitive functions, memory recall, and mental health.
What Causes Parkinsons Disease: Genetics
Looking at genetics instead, about Parkinsons disease, there is great interest in trying to find out which gene is responsible for the majority of cases of the disease. Studies of homozygous twin pairs were conducted between 1969 and 1983 by several groups of researchers. These independent research results revealed that genetic factors played a weak if not small role in the causes of what causes Parkinsons disease. In recent years, however, some genealogies have been described in which the disease is transmitted in an autosomal way.
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What Is The Difference Between Parkinsons Disease And Alzheimers Disease
Medically reviewed by Heidi Moawad, M.D. Written by Beth Sissons
Parkinsons and Alzheimers are disorders of the brain. Damage to the brain affects how the nerve cells work, leading to movement, cognition, and behavior changes.
Parkinsons disease is a neurodegenerative disorder of the brain. Symptoms of Parkinsons usually appear gradually and progress over time.
The National Institute on Aging notes that Parkinsons affects dopamine-producing nerve cells in a part of the brain called the substantia nigra. Death or impairment of nerve cells leads to a decrease in dopamine production which affects movement.
Parkinsons may also affect other neurotransmitters that regulate functions such as blood pressure, digestion, and sweating.
A loss of nerve endings decreases norepinephrine, which can lead to symptoms of Parkinsons, including fatigue and changes in blood pressure.
Alzheimers disease is also a neurodegenerative disorder and the most common type of dementia in older adults.
In Alzheimers, a type of protein called beta-amyloid builds up between nerve cells in the brain to form plaques.
A protein called tau also builds up and forms threads that tangle up inside of nerve cells. These neurofibrillary tangles impair the way nerve cells communicate with each other.
Healthy nerve cells lose their connection to other nerve cells and stop functioning properly or die.
Parkinsons Doesnt Always Cause Dementia
While cognitive decline is common in both Alzheimers and Parkinsons, it is less likely to occur in Parkinsons patients. According to studies, only half of those with Parkinsons develop cognitive difficulties. This can range from mild forgetfulness to full-blown dementia.
When dementia does manifest itself with Parkinson, it occurs in the subcortical area of the brain. Alzheimers dementia occurs in the cortical area of the brain. As a result of this, the clinical symptoms of these two dementias can be somewhat different.
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What Are The Types Of Lewy Body Dementia
There are two types of LBD: dementia with Lewy bodies and Parkinson’s disease dementia.
Both types cause the same changes in the brain. And, over time, they can cause similar symptoms. The main difference is in when the cognitive and movement symptoms start.
Dementia with Lewy bodies causes problems with thinking ability that seem similar to Alzheimer’s disease. Later, it also causes other symptoms, such as movement symptoms, visual hallucinations, and certain sleep disorders. It also causes more trouble with mental activities than with memory.
Parkinson’s disease dementia starts as a movement disorder. It first causes the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease: slowed movement, muscle stiffness, tremor, and a shuffling walk. Later on, it causes dementia.
What Is Parkinsons Disease Dementia
Parkinsons disease dementia has symptoms similar to those found in Lewy body dementia so it can sometimes be tough to diagnose.
But according to the Alzheimers Association, someone has Parkinsons disease dementia if they were originally diagnosed with Parkinsons based on movement symptoms and their dementia symptoms didnt appear until a year or more later.
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Alzheimers Vs Parkinson’s Disease Dementia
The dementia of Parkinsons disease has some similarities to the dementia of Alzheimers disease. And there are some differences, too. Alzheimers disease causes dementia slowly over time, while the dementia of Parkinsons disease often develops more quickly and dramatically.
The symptoms of Parkinsons dementia can come and go from day to day, while the symptoms of Alzheimers dementia will not go away.
Parkinsons Dementia Vs Alzheimers Dementia
According to experts, Parkinsons dementia can cause impaired physical activity and impacts motor skills. Two neurotransmitters called dopamine and serotonin tend to be damaged by Parkinsons.
In addition to causing issues with movement and coordination, this form of dementia can also cause a slower thought process and memory problems. This is usually less pronounced however, until the later stages of the disease.
With Alzheimers, two types of proteins in the brain, tangles and plaques , accumulate and kill brain cells. This Alzheimers-induced dementia affects memory, clear thinking, language skills, and orientation. It reduces comprehension, learning capacity, and judgement. Storing new information and memory retrieval are impacted more than motor skills.
Distinguishing between these neurodegenerative conditions is important to determine the best treatment approach. Medications for one of condition might create problems when given to a patient with the other condition.
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The Era Of Digital Cognitive Testing
The development of digital cognitive testing and the evolution of self-completed computerized assessments and wearable devices to assess cognitive functioning in daily life, provides an exciting opportunity to both improve clinical management and to obtain more sensitive outcome measures for clinical trials and will likely become a standard procedure in the future, given further technological improvements and increased access to the internet and digital devices. To reach this point, psychometric requirements , documentation and technical problems, as well as their relation to traditional tests, need to be well known.
Environment And Exogenous Toxins
It has also been hypothesized that exposure to some exogenous agents may contribute to the development of Parkinsons disease. In fact, some studies conducted in the 1980s had observed that drug addicts who took synthetic heroin whose co-product was MPTP developed a parkinsonian syndrome that showed lesions, both anatomically and pathologically, at the substantia nigra level and which responded well to L-DOPA. MPTP is neurotoxic, but in itself, it would be harmless. Once introduced into the body, at the level of the central nervous system, it is taken up by cells which, through the activity of type B monoamine oxidase , metabolize it leading to the production of an active ion, 1methyl-4phenylpyridine or MPP +. So once produced, this ion accumulates within dopaminergic neurons, using the dopamine reuptake system.
Once re-captured, it concentrates at the mitochondria level, where it acts as a selective inhibitor of respiratory complex I . Following this inhibition, there is a reduction in ATP production and, consequently, a decrease in the efficiency of the Na + / Ca ++ proton pump. Then there is an increase in the intracellular concentration of Ca ++ ions, an increase in oxidative stress due to the increase in electron dispersion in complex I, and an increase in the production of superoxide ions by the mitochondria. All this then consequently leads to cell death.
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