Medical

Everything about Parkinson’s: Symptoms, Prevention and Treatment

Our knowledge of Parkinson’s Disease has evolved, leading to advances in treatment and hope for the future. Medical professionals have probably been treating what we now call Parkinson’s disease for thousands of years. In Ayurveda, ancient Indian medicine, the symptoms and treatments of Parkinson’s disease are discussed. Ayurveda is a science that dates back to fifty thousand years BC. A condition similar to Parkinson’s is mentioned in the first Chinese medical textbook more than 2,500 years ago.


James Parkinson formally introduced Parkinson’s disease in 1817 in a treatise on seismic paralysis. James Parkinson was a London-based physician who had seen the classic symptoms of Parkinson’s in three of his patients as well as three passersby on the street.

His article clearly described some of the disease’s main symptoms: tremors and stiffness, and unsteadiness. His theory was that a problem caused the disease in the medulla oblongata of the brain. Parkinson hoped the medical community would pay attention to his article, But this did not happen until 1861. The French neurologist Jean-Martin Charcot and his colleagues distinguished the disease from other neurological problems and named it Parkinson’s disease.

What is Parkinson’s disease?

 

Parkinson’s is a disease that affects mostly older people, But it can also occur in younger people. This disease’s symptoms result from the gradual destruction of nerve cells in the midbrain parts that control body movements. The initial symptoms do not seem very important: a feeling of weakness or stiffness in one of the limbs (such as the foot) or a slight tremor in one arm at rest. Eventually, these vibrations become more and more widespread, and the muscles tighten; Thus, slow movements and balance and coordination between the limbs are impaired. As the disease progresses, depression, cognitive problems, and other psychological and emotional problems may also occur. Parkinson’s disease usually begins between the ages of 50 and 65 and affects about 1% of the elderly population. The disease is slightly more common in men than women, and there are medications to treat the symptoms and reduce the disability caused by the disease.

What causes Parkinson’s disease?

It regulates body movements in a part of the brain called the basal ganglia. The cells in this part need the right balance of two substances, both of which are involved in transmitting nerve impulses: dopamine and acetylcholine. In Parkinson’s disease, dopamine-producing cells are destroyed, and the balance between the two neurotransmitters is upset.

Is Parkinson’s Hereditary?

Regarding the effect of genetics on Parkinson’s disease, researchers believe that sometimes genetic factors play a role in developing this cellular problem. In 1997, researchers at the US National Institutes of Health discovered mutations in the SNCA gene in families with a high incidence of Parkinson’s. In 2004, researchers found a mutation in the LRRK2 gene that caused Parkinson’s in several families in the United States and Europe. Since then, other genes have been discovered that are linked to Parkinson’s. However, genetics seem to be the only cause of about 10% of Parkinson’s disease, and most of the cause has not been discovered. Researchers believe that the onset of the disease is due to a combination of genetic and environmental factors. In rare cases, Parkinson’s may result from a viral infection or exposure to environmental toxins such as pesticides and carbon monoxide or manganese metal.

Parkinson’s disease is a form of Parkinsonism. Parkinsonism is a more general term used to refer to a set of symptoms commonly associated with Parkinson’s disease; But sometimes they result from other factors. It is essential to distinguish between these; Because some of these factors may be treatable. Others do not respond to treatments or medications.

 

Other causes of Parkinson’s include:

  • Adverse reactions to prescription drugs
  • Taking illicit drugs
  • Exposure to environmental toxins
  • Stroke
  • Thyroid and parathyroid disorders
  • Repeated blows to the head (for example, as a result of repeated accidents or some sports)
  • Excess fluid around the brain (hydrocephalus)
  • Inflammation of the brain (encephalitis) due to infection

Parkinsonism can also be seen in people with other neurological problems, such as Alzheimer’s, Louisiana, Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, Wilson’s disease, and Owen’s disease.

Signs and symptoms of Parkinson’s disease

It is a slowly progressing movement disorder. Some people start to feel weak and have difficulty walking and tightening muscles. Others may notice tremors in their head or arms. Also, Parkinson’s is a progressive disease in which all symptoms gradually worsen.

General signs and symptoms of Parkinson’s disease include:

  • Slowing down voluntary movements, especially when starting movements such as walking or rolling in bed
  • Reduce facial expressions and monotonous speech and reduce blinking
  • Chaotic gait and body curvature
  • Difficulty getting up from a sitting position.
  • Frequent rotational movements in the fingers (rubbing the thumb on the index finger)
  • Feeling of tightness in the extremities and upper body.
  • Swallowing problems
  • Feeling light-headed or fainting while standing (postural hypotension)

Marie Parkinson usually does not appear suddenly. Early symptoms may be mild. The person may feel restless or tired; Feels slight tremors in the hands or other parts of the body, or finds it difficult to stand; Speak calmly and vaguely, or change his handwriting compared to the previous one and write the words more finely. He may forget a word or a subject and feel depressed and anxious. Usually, friends and family find out soon enough. It is easier for relatives to observe vibrations and stiff movements, and the absence of facial expressions. As the symptoms progress, the person may have difficulty with any activity; But most people with Parkinson’s can often manage their medication condition.

Parkinson’s Swallowing Disorder

Tips for swallowing disorders in Parkinson’s patients:

  • Swallowing disorders can occur at any stage of Parkinson’s (PD).
  • A verbal linguist pathologist performs the evaluation and treatment of swallowing disorders.
  • Swallowing disorders are treatable.
  • The leading cause of death in Parkinson’s is pneumonia due to the entry of substances into the respiratory tract resulting from swallowing disorders.

Swallowing disorders can occur at any stage of Parkinson’s. Signs and symptoms vary from moderate to severe and include the following:

Disorders in swallowing foods or liquids, particularly coughing or clearing the throat during or after eating/drinking, and feeling stuck in food.

As the disease progresses, swallowing can be severely affected, and food/fluid can enter the lungs, causing pneumonia due to the entry of substances into the respiratory tract.

This pneumonia is the leading cause of death in PD.

Management of swallowing disorders in Parkinson’s patients

Swallowing disorders are managed by a medical team, including a verbal linguist and physician.

Assessments usually include a review, a physical examination of the head and neck, a food/fluid test, and, if necessary, an instrumental examination, either with a mobile X-ray test called videofluoroscopy (also called a modified barium swallow study) or with a throat-assisted observation. It is an endoscope.

Treatment is specific to the nature of the swallowing problem but can include strategies to help safely lower food or fluids, dietary changes, exercise, or a combination of these.

In some cases, alternatives to oral feedings, such as a feeding tube, may be suggested. However, just because you have difficulty swallowing does not mean that you need a feeding tube.

Because Parkinson’s disease is progressive, swallowing abilities can change over time, increasing the need for early intervention and frequent appointments.

Sometimes, the symptoms of a swallowing disorder can be minor, so it is essential to stay alert. If you think you have a swallowing disorder, ask your doctor to refer you to a verbal linguist to assess swallowing.

Common signs and symptoms of Parkinson’s

  1. Muscle stiffness: Most people with Parkinson’s develop stiffness in some of their limbs, making it difficult to move parts of their body. This is because the muscles can not relax. It can also cause pain;
  2.  Vibration: These uncontrolled vibrations usually begin in the arms and hands; However, they may also be seen in the jaw and legs. The patient rubs his or her thumb and forefinger, especially when resting or feeling stressed. At the beginning of the tremors, they are seen only on one side of the body. Over time, these tremors may spread to other parts of the body; However, not all people experience tremors;
  3. Slowing down: Things like walking and getting out of bed, and even talking become more challenging and slower. Doctors call this condition bradykinesia. This is because the message sent by the brain to different parts of the body is weakened. Bradykinesia causes a mask-like dull face, and the person is unable to show facial expressions;
  4. Changes in gait: One of the early signs is that while walking, the free movement of the arms stops and the steps become shorter, and the gait fluctuates. The patient has difficulty crossing the corners and may feel that his feet are stuck to the ground.

 

Other symptoms of Parkinson’s disease

Parkinson’s is a progressive disease, and its symptoms get worse over time. In addition to the person’s movements, this disease can also affect his vision, sleep, and mental health. A person with Parkinson’s may show different symptoms at different stages of the disease that are not similar to the symptoms found in other people with Parkinson’s. These symptoms include:

  • Balance problems
  • Bending forward or backward causing the patient to fall.
  • They were bending so that the head is bent forward and the shoulders are drooping.
  • Shaking the head
  • Memory problems
  • Urinary and fecal problems
  • Fatigue
  • Saliva seeps from the mouth.
  • Skin problems such as dandruff
  • Difficulty in chewing and swallowing
  • Erection problems or orgasm
  • Feeling light-headed or fainting when standing.
  • Fear and anxiety
  • Confusion
  • Dementia or problems thinking and reasoning.
  • Loss of smell
  • Excessive sweating

Seeing these symptoms does not always mean you have Parkinson’s. The cause of these symptoms maybe something else. If you notice changes in yourself, you need to see a doctor.

How is Parkinson’s progressing?

If a person has Parkinson’s disease, they should be aware of how the disease is progressing. He needs to know what symptoms he may be experiencing and how they begin and how they affect his life. However, Parkinson’s disease does not move in a straight line, and it is not easy to determine precisely how it progresses.

Parkinson’s is associated with two main categories of symptoms:

  1. Symptoms that affect a person’s ability to move and lead to movement problems such as muscle tremors and stiffness;
  2. Non-motility symptoms include pain and loss of sense of smell and dementia. The sufferer may not have all of these symptoms, and it is not possible to predict how severe these symptoms will be or how fast they will worsen. A person may experience slight tremors; But experience severe dementia. Another person may be shaking, But there is no problem in thinking and memory. A person may also have a variety of severe symptoms. The drugs used to treat Parkinson’s work better than others and add another problem to this highly predictable condition.

Parkinson follows a broad pattern. The rate of disease progression varies from person to person. Symptoms usually get worse over time, and new symptoms appear in the middle of the road. Parkinson’s does not always affect a patient’s longevity, But it can significantly change life quality. After about ten years, most people will have at least one major problem, such as dementia or disability.

Stages of onset of motor symptoms

This condition may be divided into mild, moderate, and advanced stages; But each stage can have large gray areas. A tremor in the right arm may seem mild, but if the person is right-handed and the condition is severe, it can affect their quality of life.

Mild stage: Symptoms may be annoying, But they do not usually interfere with most people’s activities. Medications are also helpful in controlling these symptoms. The patient may have the following conditions:

  • Lack of free movement of the arms when walking
  • Inability to update facial expressions
  • Feeling heavy on the legs
  • Slightly curved in stature
  • Handwriting drop
  • Hardening of the arms or legs
  • Signs on one side of the body (such as tremors in one arm)

Intermediate stage: Often, in three to seven years, more changes will be observed in the patient. Early on, the patient may have difficulty doing something, such as buttoning his shirt. At this point, he can not do that at all. Also, the patient may find that the effect wears off at intervals. The following problems may occur in the patient:

  • Change in speech and calming of the voice
  • Dryness of the body when starting to move or change direction (as if the feet are stuck to the ground)
  • Swallowing problems
  • Increased probability of falling
  • Balance and coordination problems
  • Slowing down movements
  • Small and shaky steps

Advanced stage: This is when the drugs no longer work, and severe disabilities occur. In this situation, the patient may have the following problems:

  • Restricted to a bed or wheelchair
  • Inability to live independently
  • The occurrence of severe problems in the position of body organs (e.g., severe curvature)
  • Need help to perform daily tasks

Non-motor symptoms

Almost everyone with Parkinson’s has at least one of these symptoms. In severe cases, the following symptoms are more likely to cause disability. These symptoms may occur at any time, But they follow a general trend. The patient may have these problems years before the onset of any classic movement symptoms such as tremors:

  • Constipation
  • Depression
  • Loss of sense of smell
  • Low blood pressure when standing
  • the pain
  • Sleep problems

Of course, these symptoms may be signs of other illnesses, and even if a person has these symptoms, it does not mean that they have Parkinson’s. Scientists are still studying to understand this connection. The person may also have problems with thinking and planning, such as forgetfulness or reduced attention span, and difficulty organizing. Saliva coming out of the mouth and the more urgent need to urinate are other common problems with the disease.

What problems may manifest themselves later?

Dementia and psychosis are two severe psychological problems that usually take time to resolve. Psychosis is a severe condition in which a person sees or hears things that are not there and believes in things that do not exist in the real world. Dementia means that the person can no longer think and remember and respond. As a person with Parkinson’s ages, he or she is more likely to develop these conditions.

How is Parkinson’s disease diagnosed?

One may find that doing one’s daily chores is no longer comfortable, for example, before; For example, he has trouble tying the buttons of his shirt or brushing his teeth, or he no longer understands odors well. Are these changes part of aging-related changes or a sign of Parkinson’s disease? The answer is not always obvious; Because there is no specific test for Parkinson’s disease. Doctors usually diagnose the disease based on the patient’s symptoms and examination. If a person has at least two of the following main symptoms, your doctor will look to see if they have Parkinson’s:

  • Tremor
  • Slow-motion
  • Dry arms or legs or upper body
  • Balance problems and frequent falls

Symptoms usually appear on one side of the body and eventually spread to the other side. Parkinson’s symptoms are very similar to other diseases that affect the nervous system; therefore, diagnosing the disease’s leading cause will be time-consuming if the person’s symptoms are mild.

Examination of a patient suspected of having Parkinson’s

The specialist will monitor the patient’s arms and legs’ movement and check his muscles’ strength and balance. He may also ask the patient to try to get up from the chair without his arms’ help. The doctor also asks the patient questions such as the following:

  • Has the patient had any other illnesses now or in the past?
  • What medications is he taking now?
  • Has his handwriting become smaller?
  • Are you having trouble buttoning clothes and wearing them?
  • Does he think his feet are stuck on the ground while walking?
  • Others say that his voice is calmer and the way he speaks is incomprehensible?

Parkinson’s can occur in different ways in different people. Many people may have some symptoms, But some do not.

What are the diagnostic tests for Parkinson’s disease?

Initially, the doctor takes a blood test or brain scan of the patient to rule out other causes. Insufficient dopamine is produced in the brains of people with Parkinson’s. Dopamine is a chemical that helps a person move around. If no other cause for the symptoms is found in the initial tests, your doctor may prescribe a medicine called Carbidopa-Levodopa. This drug causes the production of dopamine in the brain. If a person’s symptoms improve after taking this medicine, he can use it after that medicine and may have Parkinson’s disease.

If the drug does not work on the patient, and there is no other explanation for the patient’s condition, an imaging test called a DaTscan would be performed. In this method, a radioactive drug and a special scanner called a SPECT scanner to see the patient’s brain’s dopamine amount. Diagnosis of this disease in a person may take a long time. It is essential to see a doctor regularly to monitor your symptoms.

In 2017, researchers proposed a way to diagnose Parkinson’s disease early. This method consists of a computer system that includes specialized software and a tablet (to detect the writing speed), and a pencil (to measure the patient’s pressure).

If these symptoms are not caused by Parkinson’s, then what are they?

  1. Side effects of medications: Certain medications used to treat mental health problems, such as psychosis or depression, may cause symptoms such as Parkinson’s disease. Antiepileptic drugs may also cause such symptoms, But they usually involve both sides of the body simultaneously. These symptoms usually go away within a few weeks of stopping the medication;
  2.  Major tremor: This is a common movement disorder that often causes tremors in the hands or arms. This condition is more common when using these organs, for example, when writing. Vibrations associated with Parkinson’s disease usually occur when the person is not moving;
  3. Progressive supernatant paralysis: People with this rare condition may have balance problems that cause them to fall frequently. They do not vibrate, But they have blurred vision and problems with eye movement. These symptoms progress faster than Parkinson’s symptoms;
  4. Normal-pressure hydrocephalus: This condition occurs when fluid collects in the brain and causes pressure in the brain. People with this condition often have difficulty walking, losing control of their bladder, and suffering from dementia.

About 25 percent of people who are said to have Parkinson’s do not have Parkinson’s. It is necessary to see a specialist confirm this disease.

Treatment Parkinson’s disease

There are several treatment options available for a person with Parkinson’s. Of course, there is no complete cure; But medications and sometimes surgery can be useful. Some medications can inhibit symptoms for years. Some medications used to treat Parkinson’s disease include:

1. Levodopa: Also called L-dopa, it is often prescribed to treat Parkinson’s symptoms. When a person has Parkinson’s, his or her brain gradually stops producing dopamine. This medicine can improve the symptoms; Because it causes the body to produce more dopamine. Another drug called carbidopa is usually prescribed to control nausea and other side effects of levodopa. A combination drug made from these two drugs is called Sinemet.

Rarely, some people can not tolerate carbidopa and need to use levodopa alone. In this case, the patient should be careful not to take this medicine simultaneously as foods or vitamins that contain vitamin B6; Because this vitamin affects the function of the drug in the body. Most physicians try to delay the use of levodopa in patients as much as possible; Because this drug will not work on the patient after a while. Sometimes, after a patient has been taking this drug for years, the drug’s effects disappear, and the person may develop movement problems called motor fluctuations. These problems may occur gradually or suddenly.

2. Safinamide: Safinamide is another drug prescribed to people taking levodopa and carbidopa that has shown previously under control symptoms. Studies show that adding this drug prolongs the time it takes for symptoms to subside or disappear in patients. The most common side effects of this drug are nausea and falling and uncontrolled and involuntary movements.

3. Dopamine agonists: These are drugs that mimic the action of dopamine in the brain. Examples include pramipexole and ropinirole. A person with Parkinson’s disease can take these drugs alone with L-dopa to treat the symptoms.

4. COMT inhibitors: Drugs in this group, such as tolcapone and entacapone, are given with Levopoda. These drugs prolong the recovery time of symptoms. These drugs work by blocking the action of an enzyme that breaks down lycopods. Of course, tolcapone is rarely prescribed by doctors; Because it is a drug that can cause liver damage.

Shallow is also a tablet made from a combination of carbidopa/levodopa with entacapone. While carbidopa reduces levodopa’s side effects, entacapone prolongs the time it takes for levodopa to remain active in the brain.

  1. Monoamine B oxidase inhibitors: These drugs also stop the action of an enzyme that breaks down dopamine. It is used alone in the early stages of Parkinson’s or in combination with other drugs in the advanced stages of the disease. Drugs in the monoamine oxidase B inhibitor group include selegiline. These drugs are usually used alone; Because if taken with other drugs, side effects can occur in the person.

Other medications prescribed for Parkinson’s include apomorphine, benztropine, amantadine, and anticholinergic drugs. All of these medications can help control symptoms. Some help release dopamine from nerve cells, while others limit the activity of acetylcholine. Acetylcholine is a chemical messenger in the brain that can lower dopamine levels.

Younger people often take anticholinergic drugs; People whose most severe symptoms are tremors. If a sick person takes this medicine as he or she gets older, he or she may experience the following side effects:

  • Vertigo
  • Dry mouth
  • Blurred vision
  • Confusion
  • nausea
  • Stool problems

A drug called Loparkin is produced in the world to treat the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease. Of course, its formulation belongs to a Swiss company.

Other treatments for Parkinson’s disease

Surgery is one of the treatments for Parkinson’s disease. In general, surgery is only considered a treatment for Parkinson’s disease when medications fail to improve symptoms. There are three surgical methods for treating Parkinson’s. These methods include:

Phlebotomy: Doctors believe that Parkinson’s occurred when a part of the brain called the pale Globus (Globus Pallidus) works hard. This part acts as a brake and makes it difficult for the body to move. In pallidotomy surgery, the pale sphere in the brain is destroyed. This treatment reduces the difficulty of movement, causes better balance, and makes it easier for the patient to move. Phlebotomy improves the performance of drugs in people who are in advanced stages of the disease.

Thalamotomy: Research shows that tremors are the result of problems in the thalamus. In this surgical procedure, part of the thalamus is destroyed to prevent vibrations from reaching the muscles. This method is used only to control symptoms and is not usually recommended to treat Parkinson’s disease.

Thalamotomy and pallidotomy surgeries are performed, but the risk of side effects is not very common.

Deep brain stimulation:

Some patients with Parkinson’s are operated on with a procedure called Deep Brain Stimulation (DBS). In this procedure, doctors place an electrode at a specific point deep in the patient’s brain, depending on the symptoms that need to improve. This method causes a lot of improvement for many people. DBS is a treatment for Parkinson’s disease symptoms; Symptoms such as tremors and stiffness, and difficulty walking. This method is also used to treat the side effects of Parkinson’s drugs. However, this method does not completely cure the disease or prevent it from progressing. Deep brain stimulation is a fair treatment if the person has been suffering from this disease for at least five years and no longer recovers enough medication. For some people, the DBS method is life-changing, and for others, the results are unsatisfactory.

What is the action of deep brain stimulation?

A small device inserted under the skin of a patient’s chest sends electrical pulses to the brain. These pulses block the nerve signals that cause Parkinson’s symptoms. Each DBS system has four parts:

  • A thin electrode is placed in the part of the brain that causes symptoms (for most patients, an electrode is implanted on each side of the brain).
  • A device that stimulates or produces a pulse (brain pulse) sends small electrical messages to the electrode.
  • The wire that connects the electrode to the pulse generator (passes subcutaneously)
  • Remote control to control the system

Once the system is up and running, the DBS expert will adjust it to the patient’s best recovery position. The individual can also control the system.

DBS surgical steps

This operation consists of two steps: Placement of electrodes in the patient’s brain; ۲. Insert the pacemaker under the skin of the patient’s chest area. Sometimes both are done simultaneously; often, the brain operation is performed first, and a few weeks later, the pacemaker is put in place.

What happens after surgery?

The patient needs to take his usual medications after surgery. The device cannot be programmed until the patient’s brain swelling has subsided. It takes about two to four weeks for a pacemaker to be given. It takes several months to find the device’s setting point; But once the setpoint is determined, the patient’s symptoms can improve, and he will need to take less medication.

 

DBS side effects

Deep brain stimulation can lead to severe problems. Some problems go away in a few days or weeks; While some symptoms remain. For example, a sick person may have the following complications:

  • Symptoms similar to stroke symptoms such as confusion and ambiguity in speech
  • Changes in mood and memory, and thinking
  • Convulsions
  • Movement problems
  • Headache and dizziness and tingling sensation

The person may have problems installing the DBS device; Such as if the wire is loose or the electrode is in the wrong place. This surgery is also performed in some centers of the world. The cost of this surgery is prohibitive. (Fatty Liver: Symptoms, Prevention, Causes, And Treatment)

Coping with Parkinson’s disease

When a person suffers from diseases such as bronchitis or the flu, he knows that his condition will improve within a week, and he will return to normal. Still, in Parkinson’s disease, the situation is different. This disease does not go away and can change the life of the sick person in different ways. However, some strategies can help a patient cope with this chronic illness.

The most important solution is for the sick person to seek help right from the moment the disease starts. Gaining awareness and support also helps the patient better deal with their problems in the future. A mental health counselor can help a person control their life and follow their treatment plan. In general, the things that the patient can do are:

  • Gain knowledge about the disease
  • Talking to friends and relatives about the disease and being separated from them
  • Doing enjoyable things
  • The patient should not be afraid to ask the doctor or nurse again about something they have not noticed or forgotten.
  • Use of services available to help Parkinson’s patients in the patient’s community
  • Learn how to manage stress to gain a better perspective on life; Because having stress will only make the situation worse.
  • If the patient has depression (depression that stays in the person for a long time and not the occasional feeling of depression), they can use antidepressants to treat it as prescribed by a doctor.

Alternative therapies for Parkinson’s disease

The term alternative therapies are generally used to describe any medical treatment or intervention that has not yet been scientifically validated or recognized as a safe and effective treatment for a particular disease. Vitamin E, coenzyme Q10, and uric acid are examples of alternative therapies studied as treatments for Parkinson’s disease. Still, no definite conclusion has been reached about their use, and they may even have harmful side effects.

  1. Exercise: Exercise therapy is not an alternative; exercises such as tai chi and yoga can reduce stress and relax, increase energy, balance, and flexibility. In general, exercise is safe and effective and an easy way to improve health; But to use it, you should consult a doctor;
  2. Diet: By following the advice of a doctor and nutritionist, the patient can experience a better feeling;
  3. Positive Attitude: Having a positive attitude does not cure Parkinson’s disease, But it can reduce stress and help the patient feel better.

 

Ongoing research on Parkinson’s disease

Research on Parkinson’s disease has made great strides. There is great hope that the cause of this disease, both genetic and environmental causes, will be identified, and the exact effects of these causes on brain function will be discovered. Researchers are also developing new treatments for Parkinson’s. Some of the treatments currently under consideration are embryonic cell transplantation and stem cells, and gene therapy.

Embryonic cell transplantation

Embryonic cell transplantation is a procedure in which embryonic cells are implanted inside the brain of people with Parkinson’s to replace dopamine-producing cells in the substantia nigra. In this way, there is hope; But this area of ​​research is controversial. Some studies have shown that embryonic cells’ implantation increases involuntary movements due to large amounts of dopamine in the brain. There are also ethical issues with the use of embryonic cells. As a consequence of these problems, other treatments are being considered.

Use of stem cells

Stem cells are the parent cells of all tissues in the body. This means that these cells can become any cell. It is hoped that these cells could eventually be transformed into other cells, such as dopamine-producing neurons, that could be used to treat Parkinson’s disease. The problem is that the patient may have the same risk of involuntary movements as with embryonic cell culture. Like embryonic cell transplantation, stem cell therapy also faces ethical issues.

Genetic research in Parkinson’s disease

Researchers are studying genes that encode the proteins responsible for dopamine production. By increasing the amount of dopamine in the brain, Parkinson’s symptoms can be reduced.

Pharmacological treatments

Researchers have studied drugs that block the action of glutamate. Glutamate is an amino acid that can destroy nerve cells. They are also investigating the role of the antioxidant coenzyme Q10 in slowing Parkinson’s disease progression.

Nerve growth factor

Preliminary studies have shown that nerve growth factor, a chemical that stimulates nerve cells’ growth, re-uses the cells needed to produce dopamine and significantly improves symptoms.

Deep brain stimulation

Research is still underway to learn more about how this method works in Parkinson’s patients. Researchers are also studying better ways to stimulate the brain.

Prevalence of Parkinson’s disease

Parkinson’s disease is the second most common age-related neurodegenerative disease. Alzheimer’s disease has the highest prevalence. It is estimated that between 7 and 10 million people worldwide have Parkinson’s. The prevalence of this disease based on age is that its prevalence is about 41 per 100,000 people in the fourth decade of life, and in people 80 years and older, it reaches more than 1900 people per 100 thousand people. Men are 1.5 times more likely to develop Parkinson’s than women. According to a study report, globally, Parkinson’s disease’s prevalence is about two per thousand people; this rate increases tenfold for over 65 and reaches two hundred people. According to 2013 statistics, there are about 160,000 people with Parkinson’s in the world.

 

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