Understanding Parkinson's Disease Essay

Understanding Parkinson's Disease Essay

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Understanding Parkinson's Disease

Diagnosis of Parkinson's Disease

To date, there are no specific diagnostic criteria for Parkinson's Disease. Diagnosis can only be made by an expert examination after the person has already developed symptoms. Biochemical measures can be used such as a screening strategy monitoring the dopamine levels in the cerebrospinal fluid. Otherwise, specifically 6(18F)dopa positron emission tomography can be used for a direct measurement of dopamine activity. Using a computer to assess movement time is another test for Parkinson's disease. To examine the electrophysiological characteristics of tremor and preclinical nigral dysfunction characteristic of Parkinson's EMG (electromyographic recordings) can be used. Finally, a symptomatic screening is often utilized and consists of nine symptom related questions, as well as disease specific and drug specific questions. This provides an indirect functional measure of the nigrostriatal dopamine system.

Facts about Parkinson's Disease

Increasing age strongly increases the risk of Parkinson's disease. Male gender and possibly Caucasian ancestry are associated with more modest increases in risk. The reported prevalence of Parkinson's disease varies widely in international community-based studies; ranging from 31 to 328 per 100,000 people. Whether these differences represent actual differences in the occurrence of disease cannot be easily determined. This is due to the limited number of studies conducted and restricted population samples used. The risk factors of Parkinson's disease are primarily environmental and are not genetically based.

Clinical Features

The main clinical features in Parkinson's Disease include rigidity, bradyki...


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...an de Silva, H.A.; Khan, N.L.; & Wood, N.W. (2000). The genetics of Parkinson's disease. Current Opinion in Genetics & Development 10:3 (June); 292-298.

Tanner, C. M. (1996). Early Intervention in Parkinson's Disease: Epidemiologic Considerations. Ann Epidemiol. 6: 5; 438-441.

Tasker, R.R.; Lang, A.E.; & Lozano, A..M.. (2000). Pallidal and Thalamic Surgery for Parkinson's Disease. Experimental Neurology. 144:1; 35 - 40.

Veldman, B.A.J.; Wijn, A.M.; Knoers, N.; Praamstra, P.; & Horstink, M.W.I.M. (1998 ). Genetic and environmental risk factors in Parkinson's disease. Clinical Neurology and Neurosurgery 100:1;15-26.

Volkmann, J.; & Sturm, V. (1998). Indication and results of stereotactic surgery for advanced Parkinson's disease. Critical Reviews in Neurosurgery. 8:4; 209-216.

For information regarding Parkinson's Disease: http://www.parkinsonsweb.com/

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