Without any thought, without even noticing it happens, when one has an itch, they scratch it. The arm moves up to the face, the fingers reach down and move across the skin. This series of actions, which many of us do everyday is something individuals with Parkinson's disease struggle with every moment of their lives. Simple movements are replaced by frozen limbs that they or their nervous system can not move. Described by many as a type of momentary paralysis, the disease causes gradual degeneration in patients until they are no longer able to perform the most basic bodily functions, such as swallowing or blinking.
Parkinson's disease is a neurological disorder that is named after "the English physician who first described it fully in 1817" (4). The disease causes disturbances in the motor functions resulting in patients having trouble moving. Other characteristics that are not always present in every patient are tremors and stiffening of limbs. All of these characteristics, of the disease are caused by "degeneration of a group of nerve cells deep within the center of the brain in an area called the substantia nigra" (5). Dopamine is the neurotransmitter for these cells to signal other nerve cells. However as the cluster of nerve cells fail to operate, the dopamine can not reach the areas of the brain that affects one's motor functions (5). On average Parkinson's patients have "less than half as much dopamine in their systems as healthy people do" (8). The problem and controversy that arises from this disease is in the cure. Researchers, for years, have been attempting to unravel the mystery of what causes Parkinson's disease and how it can be treated and or cur...
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...rticles, search under key word stem cells.
3)title,a Parkinson's disease society page that gives basic information.
5)title, encyclopedia of biological terms and articles, search under key words Parkinson's Disease.
6) title,site that deals with religious views on stem cell research.
8)title,science news archive with articles relating to current science issues.
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