Friday, 4 January 2013

What is Parkinson's disease?

As they walked together, the Doctor said to Jonny, “Parkinson’s disease is a neurodegenerative disorder. Specific nerve cells in a part of your brain called the substantia nigra are dieing. These cells normally produce a chemical called dopamine, which activates networks of other nerve cells to ultimately initiate and control your movement. When these so called dopermergic neurons start to disappear the level of dopamine falls, resulting in impaired movement. Unfortunately, you are showing the three major signs characteristic of this loss; slowness of movement, tremor and rigidity. Parkinson’s is a complex disease and it may cause other symptoms, such as fatigue and depression.”

“Nobody knows why these nerve cells die. Prior to dieing cells show large accumulations (called Lewy bodies) of a protein called a-synuclein. There is also evidence that malfunctioning mitochondria (the energy-producing power plants of the cell) are also involved. Somehow these and other events conspire to cause cell death and ultimately the symptoms you are showing.”

“As more nerve cells are lost the worse the symptoms will get. Treatment can help to counter this. The main aim of treatment is to replace the missing dopamine by taking dopamine in tablet form and also making adaptations to your life to make everyday tasks easier and maintain your independence.”

No comments:

Post a Comment