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Effects of Parkinson's Disease

Falls in Parkinson’s Disease – Causes, Effects, Prevention Tips

Due to the nature of Parkinson’s disease, falls are a fairly common occurrence mainly due to instability with the posture and impaired gait. It has a host of complications as would frequent falls in any person, irrespective of Parkinson’s disease. However, bearing in mind that most Parkinson’s disease patients are older, the impact of these frequent falls can have severe consequences. Understanding the dangers associated with frequent falls and minimizing it  is of the utmost importance.

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Parkinson's Disease Demographics

Who Gets Parkinson’s Disease?

Parkinson’s disease (PD) is one of the most common neurologic disorders and the most common neurodegenerative diseases in the world.  The pathophysiology of Parkinson’s disease is quite well understood, albeit not completely. Dopaminergic neurons particularly in the substantia nigra, a part of the brain, becomes damaged gradually die leading to lower than normal levels of the brain hormone dopamine. Although this is known, the exact cause of this damage and cell death is not clearly understood. Risk factors including certain genetic mutations have been identified. However, these risks account for only a small proportion of PD cases. Analyzing the incidence and distribution of any disease also helps to provide clues to those at risk based on demographics despite not having any of the known risk factors. The study of this incidence of a disease is [… Read More]

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Effects of Parkinson's Disease

Complications of Parkinson’s Disease

Complications may arise in any diseases if left untreated or as it progresses and Parkinson’s disease is no different. These complications may be associated with PD itself as it gets worse, arise as a side effect from the medication being used for PD or at times arise separately due to the effects of Parkinson’s disease on various aspects of life and health (secondary). Parkinson’s disease itself is not fatal but some of the complications could be and therefore proper care and vigilance is necessary. Identifying these complications as early as possible and seeking treatment where possible can greatly reduce the severity of the complication.

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Parkinson's Disease FAQ

Detecting Dopamine Loss for Parkinson’s Diagnosis and Monitoring

Although there is no specific test for Parkinson’s disease, recent advances in a diagnostic imaging technique may help doctors identify high risk patients even before the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease appear. It may also serve as a tool to monitor disease progression. Parkinson’s disease is a neurodegenerative disease where there is a gradual progressive loss of dopamine nerve cells (dopaminergic neurons) in the brain. Currently Parkinson’s disease is identified by a clinical diagnosis where the medical history and clinical presentation allows a doctor to reach the diagnosis. However, the new diagnostic technique may allow for conclusive diagnosis and even help prevent misdiagnosis of the disease.

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Parkinson's Disease FAQ

Cigarette Smoking, Nicotine and Parkinson’s Disease

Epidemiological studies over the past 50 years have shown a lower incidence of Parkinson’s disease among cigarette smokers. Although this apparent neuroprotective benefit of cigarette smoking has been known for a while, be it due to nicotine or the scores of other chemicals in cigarettes, the mechanism has been poorly understood and the therapeutic implications yet to be taken advantage of in the development of new Parkinson’s disease drugs. The main concern was whether this epidemiological finding was just a coincidence, which although unlikely, had not been clinically verified until the recent years. A new research study conducted at Institut du Cerveau et de la Moelle Épinière, Hôpital de la Salpêtrière, in Paris, France has confirmed the potential benefit of nicotine in Parkinson’s disease by its action on a specific type of receptor on neurons.

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Parkinson's Disease FAQ

Blood Test For Parkinson’s Disease and Genetic Testing

Parkinson’s disease or PD is a neurodegenerative disease which means that nervous dysfunction is gradual and progressive. In other words, it develops slowly and gets worse over time. Most PD patients only discover the condition once signs and symptoms, usually those affecting movement, become obvious and affect daily functioning to a level that they need to seek medical advice. However, there are methods to diagnose Parkinson’s disease in the early stages when a person has no signs or symptoms (asymptomatic) or when it is too mild to be evident either to the patient or doctor. These diagnostic tests should be conducted routinely on patients who are possibly at risk, like those with a familial history. Screening, however, is not as simple as with other conditions as familial Parkinson’s disease accounts for only a small number [… Read More]

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Parkinson's Disease FAQ

Induced Pluripotent Stem Cell Therapy in Parkinson’s Disease

Although in the early stages, the potential use of induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) in the treatment of Parkinson’s disease (PD) holds tremendous possibilities for the future. A significant amount of research is still necessary and the practical application of such a treatment option is probably still a long way. However, the promise of acquiring an undifferentiated stem cell from the patient’s body and then stimulating differentiation into a nerve cell may make this sort of therapy one of the more exciting developments in recent years.

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Parkinson's Alternative Treatment

Parkinson’s Disease and Homeopathy

Homeopathy is a system of medicine developed some 200 years ago by the German physician, Dr. Samuel Hahnemann. It is based on the principle of ‘like cures like’. By administering substances in a specially diluted form known as potencies, the remedy is supposed to stimulate the body’s innate healing ability to overcome the disease and restore the state of health. While a popular system of alternative medicine globally, homeopathy is a subject of much controversy as many members of the medical science field see homeopathic remedies as nothing more than a placebo.

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Effects of Parkinson's Disease

Loss of Taste, Smell in Parkinson’s Disease

Loss of taste or smell can occur over a period of time in Parkinson’s disease but it may be so gradual as to remain undetected in many patients. Some studies have shown that impaired sensation of smell may occur in a PD patient even long before the development of motor symptoms. Disorders of taste (gustatory) and smell (olfactory) may occur normally with advancing years but suffering from a neurodegenerative disorder such as Parkinson’s disease seems to increase chances of such disorders.

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Parkinson's Disease FAQ

Risks of Surgery in Parkinson’s Disease

Surgery may be contemplated in a Parkinson’s disease patient either to control symptoms of the disease or for some cause unrelated to Parkinson’s disease, such as a hip replacement or prostate gland removal. The risks associated with surgery need to be analyzed so as to decide whether the benefits outweigh the risks and if surgery is justifiable in such patients. Considerations such as age of the patient, type of surgery, and the stage of Parkinson’s disease should be kept in mind before arriving at a decision.