Parkinson’s disease

Parkinson’s disease is an age-related degenerative disorder of the human brain. It rarely arises before the age of 40, but afflicts more than 1% of people over 60 and 4% of people over 80. The most obvious symptoms are movement-related, including shaking, rigidity, slowness of movement and difficulty with walking gait. Cognitive, sensory, sleep and emotional problems may also occur, especially in the later stages. The most noticeable symptoms are brought about by the death of brain cells that produce the chemical dopamine. Some cases are caused by genetic factors, but for most cases the causes are not known. Diagnosis is based on assessment of symptoms. In spite of extensive scientific research, no cure has yet been found. Modern treatments are effective at managing the early motor symptoms of the disease, mainly through the use of levodopa and dopamine agonists. In the later stages, however, these treatments gradually lose their effectiveness. The disease is named after British apothecary James Parkinson, and his birthday, April 11, has been designated Parkinson’s Disease Day. credit


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