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Parkinson’s disease

Parkinson's disease (PD) is a degenerative disorder of the central nervous system that belongs to a group of conditions called movement disorders.PD usually begins around age 60, but it can start earlier. It is more common in men than in women.

There is no cure for PD and its cause is unknown in the majority of cases. However, in some cases it can be secondary to other alterations such as blood flow problems to the brain. Although currently there is no definite treatment, there are diverse therapies and a variety of medicines that can help symptoms dramatically.

Symptoms

The main symptoms are tremor (of the hands, arms, legs, jaw, or the head), rigidity (the trunk or leg muscles remain constantly tense and contracted), bradykinesia (slowing down of spontaneous and automatic movement), and postural instability (impaired balance).

Symptoms begin gradually, often on one side of the body and gradually worsen. They are not disease specific, nor do they appear at the same time. Later they affect both sides. As symptoms get worse, people with the disease may have trouble walking, talking, or doing simple tasks. They may also have cognitive problems (memory problems, social judgment, language, reasoning, or other mental skills may be affected) and other problems such as depression, sleep problems, or trouble chewing, swallowing, or speaking.

Prevention

Although some cases of Parkinson’s disease seem to be hereditary, and others can be caused by specific mutations, the majority of the times the disease is sporadic (not hereditary) and there is no effective way of preventing it. Currently there are no blood or laboratory tests that have been proven to help in the diagnosis of sporadic PD, and thus, the diagnosis is based on clinical history and neurological examinations.

Gene or region studied

  • MCCC1
  • 10q24.32
  • FAM47E
  • LINGO1
  • SNCA
  • ADH1C
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