The Best Parkinson’s Disease Blogs of 2020: Part 1
Parkinson’s disease is a progressive neurodegenerative disorder characterized by the gradual loss of neurons in certain parts of the brain. The most common symptoms are tremor, rigidity, slowness and involuntary movements such as shaking your head or twitching your fingers. There are several types of parkinsonism including primary (primary) parkinsonism, secondary (secondary) parkinsonism and mixed forms.
Primary parkinsonism is caused by the death of dopaminergic cells in the substantia nigra pars compacta (SNpc), which produces tremors, rigidity and slowness. Secondary parkinsonism is caused by other causes, but it usually begins after age 40. Primary and secondary parkinsonisms are often misdiagnosed as dementia due to similar symptoms such as tremors, slowness and involuntary movements.
Mixed forms of parkinsonism include frontotemporal lobar degeneration (FTLD), Lewy body disease and familial Mediterranean fever. FTLD is a rare form of parkinsonism where there are both primary and secondary cases. FTLD is a condition where the basal ganglia die off first, followed by the frontal lobe, then the temporal lobe, before finally dying off completely. It is most often caused by inflammation of the brain and a misfolding of proteins.
There are mainly four types of parkinsonism: resting tremor, kinetic tremor, postural instability and gait impairment. Resting tremors or pill rolling is the constant shaking of fingers when they’re at rest or bent such as in the pocket. Kinetic tremors or dystonic arm and leg movements occur during movement such as with eating or writing.
Postural instability is loss of postural reflexes such as maintaining balance while standing or sitting. Gait impairment is the difficulty or slowness while walking. Some other symptoms can include muscle rigidity, decreased facial expression, impaired speech and cognition, slowed movements, problems with bowel and bladder function, sleep disturbances and depression.
The main cause of parkinsonism is damage to the pigmented neurons that produce dopamine in the midbrain known as the substantia nigra.
Sources & references used in this article:
The safety and feasibility of a Halliwick style of aquatic physiotherapy for falls and balance dysfunction in people with Parkinson’s Disease: A single blind pilot … by AF Terrens, SE Soh, P Morgan – PloS one, 2020 – journals.plos.org
Saposin D variants are not a common cause of familial Parkinson’s disease among Italians by D Facchi, V Rimoldi, L Straniero, EM Paraboschi… – Brain, 2020 – academic.oup.com
Complementary positron emission tomographic studies of the striatal dopaminergic system in Parkinson’s disease by A Antonini, P Vontobel, M Psylla, I Günther… – Archives of …, 1995 – jamanetwork.com