Parkinson’s disease (PD) is a long-term degenerative disorder of the central nervous system that causes a loss of cells in the part of the brain that controls movement. It is both chronic and progressive, meaning that once it occurs it does not go away and symptoms generally get worse over time; the rate or speed of progression varies from person to person. Dr Manish Gupta, Executive Consultant of Neurology Department, Jaypee Hospital elaborates.
Parkinson Disease (PD) is a neurodegenerative disorder that affects motor and non-motor functions due to a lack of dopamine in the brain. Dopamine allows nerve impulses to travel smoothly from one cell to the other. When dopamine is reduced, the messages from the brain to the nerve cells aren’t properly transmitted, resulting in the recognizable tremors, rigidity and slowness of movement in PD patients. Parkinson’s disease was first characterized extensively by a London physician, James Parkinson, in 1817. In just under 200 years it has become the second most common neurogenic disorder affecting approximately 1% of the world population over 50 years old.
Causes of Parkinson’s Disease
Environmental toxins: Despite no conclusive evidence that this is a cause, some scientists believe that an internal or external toxin affects the body s ability to produce dopamine. One needs to be vigilant about MPTP, pesticides such as paraquat and rotenone, metal or organic toxins and manganese porsonium used in welding as these can accelerate Parkinson’s disease.
Accelerated ageing: One theory is that in some individuals, for some unknown reason, the normal, age-related death of the neurones that produce dopamine is accelerated.
Free Radicals: Some researchers believe that the neurones that produce dopamine die due to the activity of free radicals. Free radicals are potentially damaging molecules produced in the body during normal chemical reactions.
Genetic factors: Specific gene mutations that can cause Parkinson’s disease have been identified if onset is early than the age of 50yrs. These are uncommon, except in rare cases with many family members affected by Parkinson’s disease. There also exist certain gene variations that appear to increase the risk of Parkinson’s disease.
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Published : April 11, 2018 11:29 am | Updated:April 11, 2018 11:55 am