Parkinson’s disease (pär¹kîn-senz) or Parkinsonism, degenerative brain disorder initially characterized by trembling lips and hands and muscular rigidity, later producing body tremors, a shuffling gait, and eventually possible incapacity. Emotions may be affected and mental capacity impaired, but assessment of these is difficult because depression often accompanies the disease. The disease occurs when the brain cells that produce dopamine die. In cases where there is no known cause (the majority), it usually appears after age 40 and is referred to as Parkinson’s disease. Parkinsonism usually refers to similar symptoms resulting from certain antipsychotic drugs, reserpine (a blood pressure drug), carbon monoxide or manganese poisoning, or MPTP (a heroin byproduct). Symptoms are treated with the drugs deprenyl (selegiline), L-DOPA (given with carbidopa to reduce side effects) and amantadine. Parkinsonism is named for English surgeon James Parkinson, who first described it in 1817. 1
A common crippling disease characterized by muscle spasms and rigidity, tremors, slow movements and loss of control over many parts of the body. It is caused by a dopamine deficiency that prevents certain brain cells from performing their normal duties.
affects movement, muscle control and balance. Dopamine deficiency is the primary cause, most likely resulting from a combination of genetic and biologic factors triggered by some environmental assault. Parkinson’s disease seldom begins before age 50, and usually progresses gradually over 10 to 15 years. There is no cure but medication and, in some cases, surgery can help relieve symptoms. www.parkinson.org/index.htm