Thursday, May 23, 2024

What Part Of The Brain Is Affected In Parkinson’s Disease

Action Sequencing Impairment As Deficit In Timing: Corticalsubcortical Substrates

Parkinson’s Disease: How is the brain affected?

PD patients have a difficulty in performing action sequences, including completing sequences of heterogeneous movements in correct order., Here we discuss a corticalsubcortical circuit that may underlie this symptom. The circuit, shown on , is mainly based on data supporting the contribution of pre-SMA, SMA, Cer and BG in managing action sequences.,,, Different types of neurons in pre-SMA and SMA help to encode not only where in a sequence the action is but also the conditional links between the previous response and the upcoming response, often in a highly specific manner. In this respect, it has been shown that pre-SMA and SMA neurons respond before some sequences but not others , that some neurons of pre-SMA and SMA respond only to the rank order of a movement in the sequence , and that pre-SMA and SMA cells also encode the number of movements that remain to be made to complete a sequence to obtain a reward.

Attention Difficulties In Parkinsons

Attention involves filtering information, and people with PD who experience attention difficulties have trouble maintaining focus, especially as the complexity of a situation increases. Attention difficulties can affect both intellectual pursuits and everyday activities, such as walking and holding a conversation at the same time.1,3

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Parkinson’s Disease Treated With Cannabinoids

Now youre already familiarized with Parkinsons disease and its common symptoms, and knowing possible alternative treatments used with cannabis plant, in our next article we explore deeper this topic. Endocannabinoid System can be activated by cannabinoid chemical compounds, meaning that it can stimulate biological and pharmacological properties of terpenoids such as antimicrobial, antifungal, antiviral or antiparasitic. Our aim in this article is to explore and analyze benefits of Cannabis plant compounds and its connection to prevent, decrease and even repairing neurodegeneration, as Parkinsons disease.

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What Causes Parkinsons Disease

Parkinsons disease occurs when nerve cells in an area of the brain called the substantia nigra become impaired or die. These cells normally produce dopamine, a chemical that helps the cells of the brain communicate . When these nerve cells become impaired or die, they produce less dopamine. Dopamine is especially important for the operation of another area of the brain called the basal ganglia. This area of the brain is responsible for organizing the brains commands for body movement. The loss of dopamine causes the movement symptoms seen in people with Parkinsons disease.

People with Parkinsons disease also lose another neurotransmitter called norepinephrine. This chemical is needed for proper functioning of the sympathetic nervous system. This system controls some of the bodys autonomic functions such as digestion, heart rate, blood pressure and breathing. Loss of norepinephrine causes some of the non-movement-related symptoms of Parkinsons disease.

Scientists arent sure what causes the neurons that produce these neurotransmitter chemicals to die.

The Substantia Nigra And Movement

About Parkinsons

The reason that Parkinsons causes movement symptoms is that the substantia nigra makes up part of the circuitry, called the basal ganglia, that the brain uses to turn thought about movement into action.

The structures of the basal ganglia.

The substantia nigra is the master regulator of the circuit, it mainly communicates using the chemical dopamine, but other chemical transmitters are also used to communicate between other areas of the basal ganglia.

The balance of signals being sent between these structures allows us to control movement. But as Parkinsons progresses, and the dopamine-producing brain cells in the substantia nigra are lost, movement symptoms appear. Without enough dopamine, it becomes harder to start and maintain movements, which leads to symptoms such as slowness of movement, rigidity and freezing. And an imbalance of signals in the basal ganglia means people with Parkinsons can experience what is known as a resting tremor.

But while this is the description of Parkinsons you may find in most textbooks, it is now recognised that changes are not limited to the substantia nigra and basal ganglia.

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So What Do We Know So Far

Location of the substantia nigra. FrozenManCC BY-SA 4.0

The substantia nigra is an area of the mid brain located at the top of the spinal cord, which has been the focus of much work into how Parkinsons affects the brain.

There are a right and a left substantia nigra, and often one side is affected before the other. Because of this, people with Parkinsons often experience symptoms primarily on one side of their body, particularly in the early stages. Indeed, this common feature of the condition often helps to distinguish Parkinsons from other similar conditions.

When it comes to confirming a diagnosis, it is the substantia nigra where pathologists look for changes at the end of life in brain tissue that has been donated to research. And the loss of the dopamine-producing cells in this area of the brain, accompanied by the presence of clumps of alpha-synuclein protein , has been the hallmark of Parkinsons for decades.

You can read more about the alpha-synuclein protein, and how it plays a role in the spread of Parkinsons, in a previous blog post:

How Will My Doctor Test For It

Theres no one test for Parkinsons. A lot of its 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 Parkinsons. 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, its very important to go to a doctor who knows a lot about it, early on. Its easy to miss.

If you do have it, your doctor might use whats called the Hoehn and Yahr scale to tell you what stage of the disease youre 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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Introduction: The Nervous Systems

In my pursuit of pragmatic solutions to Parkinsons Disease, I found myself increasingly researching the nature of stress in humans, and inevitably drawn towards studying the Nervous System .

I have already shared much of what Ive learned, together with the practical applications to lessening Parkinsons symptoms, via this website, but here is a summary of my current understanding. We consist of many Nervous Systems in one body we could say there are, at least, five of me in each of us. These include the Central , Sympathetic , Para-sympathetic , Enteric , and Somatic Nervous Systems . We may consider each one of these as a semi-autonomous program, which becomes more or less active in response to bio-rhythms and our internal/external environments. As each program is excited or inhibited, this can profoundly affect how we think, feel, move, act and re-act.

These internal and external imbalances can create circumstances in which some of the NS programs may become over-active or under-active for prolonged periods. These confused NS states can then lead to chronic illness, especially if the body receives contradictory signals from multiple programs at once, leading to a breakdown of self-identity.

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Changes In Thalamus In Parkinson’s Disease

Understanding Parkinson’s disease

Thalamic lesions are found to impair cognitive functions such as language, memory, and attention. Thalamic stimulation was effective in enhancement of cognition through activation of neocortex and hippocampus and modulating gene expression. Approximately 30%-40% loss was reported in the thalamus in PD. It was reported that volume of the thalamus decreases in PD. In contrast, it was reported that thalamic shape but not volume changes in PD. As specific nuclei of the thalamus are involved in PD, atrophy of the caudal intralaminar nucleus and hypertrophy of rest of the nucleus result in altered shape of the thalamus. Further, changes in white matter of the mediodorsal thalamus lead to depression in most of the PD patients. Significant reduction in fractional anisotropy was reported in anterior nucleus, dorsomedial nucleus, and ventral anterior nucleus of the thalamus.

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Changes In Thalamus In Parkinsons Disease

Thalamic lesions are found to impair cognitive functions such as language, memory, and attention. Thalamic stimulation was effective in enhancement of cognition through activation of neocortex and hippocampus and modulating gene expression. Approximately 30%-40% loss was reported in the thalamus in PD. It was reported that volume of the thalamus decreases in PD. In contrast, it was reported that thalamic shape but not volume changes in PD. As specific nuclei of the thalamus are involved in PD, atrophy of the caudal intralaminar nucleus and hypertrophy of rest of the nucleus result in altered shape of the thalamus. Further, changes in white matter of the mediodorsal thalamus lead to depression in most of the PD patients. Significant reduction in fractional anisotropy was reported in anterior nucleus, dorsomedial nucleus, and ventral anterior nucleus of the thalamus.

Which Medicines Are Used To Treat Parkinsons Disease

Guidelines released by the Scottish Intercollegiate Guidelines Network recommend starting with a dopamine agonist, levodopa with a dopa-decarboxylase inhibitor or a monoamine-oxidase inhibitor. Other medicines are also sometimes used, usually in addition to one of these three main types of medication.

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What Are The Symptoms Of Parkinsons Disease

The most noticeable symptoms of PD are movement-related, and the hallmark symptoms are: bradykinesia, resting tremor, and rigidity.

Bradykinesia refers to slowness of movementespecially slowness of the initiation of movement. PD patients will often have trouble getting their body to transition from a resting state to an active state. When they finally do get moving, their movement may be much slower than a healthy patients.

Watch this 2-Minute Neuroscience video for a summary of Parkinsons disease symptoms, neurobiology, and treatment.

Resting tremor indicates a tremor that is worse when the patient is at rest. When the patient makes a voluntary movement, the intensity of the tremor often subsides. These tremors typically start in the hands or arms and then spread to the legs as the disease progresses.

Rigidity describes a state of generally elevated muscle tone where the patient displays inflexibility and resistance to movement .

Although these movement-related symptoms are the most familiar signs of PD, there are a number of other common symptoms that occur as well. For example, later in the disease, postural instability becomes common, making falls more likely. Some of the non-motor symptoms include constipation, deficits in the sense of smell, sleep abnormalities, mood disorders like depression and anxiety, cognitive impairment, and dementia.

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What Are The Treatments

Study reveals roots of Parkinson

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.

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Pathophysiology Of Parkinsons Disease

Although we are learning more each day about the pathophysiology of Parkinsons disease, it is still considered largely idiopathic . It likely involves the interaction of host susceptibility and environmental factors. A small percentage of cases are genetically linked and genetic factors are being intensely studied.

Physiologically, the symptoms associated with Parkinsons disease are the result of the loss of a number of neurotransmitters, most notably dopamine. Symptoms worsen over time as more and more of the cells affected by the disease are lost. The course of the disease is highly variable, with some patients exhibiting very few symptoms as they age and others whose symptoms progress rapidly.

Parkinsons is increasingly seen as a complex neurodegenerative disease with a sequence of progression. There is strong evidence that it first affects the dorsal motor nucleus of the vagus nerve and the olfactory bulbs and nucleus, then the locus coeruleus, and eventually the substantia nigra. Cortical areas of the brain are affected at a later stage. Damage to these various neuronal systems account for the multi-faceted pathophysiologic changes that cause impairments not just to the motor system but also to the cognitive and neuropsychological systems .

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How Is Parkinsons Disease Treated

There is no cure for Parkinsons disease. However, medications and other treatments can help relieve some of your symptoms. Exercise can help your Parkinsons symptoms significantly. In addition, physical therapy, occupational therapy and speech-language therapy can help with walking and balance problems, eating and swallowing challenges and speech problems. Surgery is an option for some patients.

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Parkinsons & Brain Treatments

A doctor may prescribe medications to conserve dopamine in the brain and replace missing amounts of the chemical. This protects the brain and slows down the progression of symptoms. Another option is deep brain stimulation. This surgical procedure implants a special device into the brain, which creates electrical signals that help stimulate body movement.

While living with this condition causes significant alterations to the brain, you or your loved one will still be able to thrive and enjoy an excellent quality of life. The volunteers at Connecticut Advocates for Parkinsons of Hartford County, CT, are focused on providing each affected person with wellness and educational opportunities to make this possible. For information about their support groups and events for men and women with Parkinsonâs, call 266-6040, or visit their website. Explore community activities and discover care tips by following their page.

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Treatment Of Parkinsons Disease

Parkinson’s Disease Anatomy

Treatment varies somewhat depending on at which age the disease first appears. Patients under 60 years will usually start with drugs that increase cell production of dopamine. After a couple of years the treatment will change to substances which convert into dopamine in the body . Patients over 60 years of age when diagnosed will usually start with L-DOPA. Additionally, there are some similar substances, which can complement, or replace, depending on the effect on symptoms. The side effects might be the above mentioned on-off phenomena.

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Can Parkinsons Disease Be Prevented

Unfortunately, no. Parkinsons disease is long-term disease that worsens over time. Although there is no way to prevent or cure the disease , medications may significantly relieve your symptoms. In some patients especially those with later-stage disease, surgery to improve symptoms may be an option.

Causes Of Parkinson’s Disease

Parkinson’s disease is caused by a loss of nerve cells in part of the brain called the substantia nigra. This leads to a reduction in a chemical called dopamine in the brain.

Dopamine plays a vital role in regulating the movement of the body. A reduction in dopamine is responsible for many of the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease.

Exactly what causes the loss of nerve cells is unclear. Most experts think that a combination of genetic and environmental factors is responsible.

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Is Parkinsons Disease Inherited

Scientists have discovered gene mutations that are associated with Parkinsons disease.

There is some belief that some cases of early-onset Parkinsons disease disease starting before age 50 may be inherited. Scientists identified a gene mutation in people with Parkinsons disease whose brains contain Lewy bodies, which are clumps of the protein alpha-synuclein. Scientists are trying to understand the function of this protein and its relationship to genetic mutations that are sometimes seen in Parkinsons disease and in people with a type of dementia called Lewy body dementia.

Several other gene mutations have been found to play a role in Parkinsons disease. Mutations in these genes cause abnormal cell functioning, which affects the nerve cells ability to release dopamine and causes nerve cell death. Researchers are still trying to discover what causes these genes to mutate in order to understand how gene mutations influence the development of Parkinsons disease.

Scientists think that about 10% to 15% of persons with Parkinsons disease may have a genetic mutation that predisposes them to development of the disease. There are also environmental factors involved that are not fully understood.

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What Are The Symptoms

What brain areas are affected by Parkinsons?

Symptoms of PD vary from person to person, as does the rate of progression. A person who has Parkinson’s may experience some of these more common “hallmark” symptoms:

  • Bradykinesia – slowness of movement, impaired dexterity, decreased blinking, drooling, expressionless face.
  • Tremor at rest – involuntary shaking that decreases with purposeful movement. Typically starts on one side of the body, usually the hand.
  • Rigidity – stiffness caused by involuntary increase in muscle tone.
  • Postural instability – sense of imbalance. Patients often compensate by lowering their center of gravity, which results in a stooped posture.

Other symptoms that may or may not occur:

Freezing or being stuck in place Shuffling gait or dragging of one foot Stooped posture Cognitive impairment

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