Parkinson's News

Parkinson's disease is a progressive disorder that affects a person's ability to move. It is often referred to as a motor system disorder. When a person has Parkinson's, some cells within the brain, known as neurons, begin to malfunction and eventually start to die off. Healthy neurons produce dopamine, which helps control the body's movements. As neurons fail, that affects how the body moves.

Parkinson's disease primarily develops in adults 50 or older. The exact cause of the disease is not known. Though there is no cure for Parkinson's, there are treatments that can help manage symptoms and improve quality of life.


The signs of Parkinson's disease are four unique symptoms: impaired balance and coordination, slow movements, stiffness in the torso, arms or legs and trembling in the hands, legs, arms or face. There is no specific test for Parkinson's disease, so doctors will look for these symptoms when attempting to make a diagnosis. Most often, symptoms begin subtly and gradually worsen over time. Some people with Parkinson's may only experience one or two of these symptoms, and others may have all of them.

Parkinson's disease can vary greatly from person to person. Some may have only mild symptoms, such as a bit of trembling that stays consistent for many years. In others, the disease can progress quickly to the point where the person is severely disabled and heavily dependent on others for care. Over time, the initial symptoms of Parkinson's can lead to complications with chewing, swallowing, speaking or breathing. Difficulty using the bathroom and sleeping are also common.


Medications, surgery and certain therapies are all used to treat Parkinson's disease. The most common treatment for Parkinson's, and the one that is usually tried first, is a combination of two drugs, levodopa and carbidopa. This replenishes the brain's supply of dopamine and alleviates some symptoms, but its effectiveness wears off with time. Other drugs can be used to increase levodopa's effectiveness and also to treat other symptoms. A therapy called deep brain stimulation, using electrodes, also has been approved for Parkinson's.

SOURCES: U.S. National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke; Parkinson's Disease Foundation

Date Posted
Article Title
Traumatic Brain Injury and Parkinson's Risk

A single concussion may increase the risk of Parkinson's disease, new study finds.

Coffee Doesn't Help Parkinson's Motor Disorders

Caffeine has no impact, says long-term trial that reverses earlier findings

Parkinson's and Caffeine

Caffeine does not help improve movement symptoms in Parkinson's disease, study finds

Why Your Nose May Be Key to Parkinson's Risk

Study suggests fading sense of smell often occurs years before symptom onset

New Hope From Old Drugs in Fight Against Parkinson's

Asthma medications may lower risk, but much more research is needed

Virtual House Calls for Speedy, Effective Parkinson's Care

Online visits saved patients more than two hours and 100 miles of driving, study found

Singing May Be Good Medicine for Parkinson's Patients

Voice coaching appears to help swallowing and breathing, study finds

Diabetes Drug Shows Promise Against Parkinson's

Byetta improved symptoms of motor disease in small, short trial, but more research needed

White Collar Workers at Higher Odds of Death From ALS, Parkinson's

Study found richer, better-educated folks with these brain diseases are more likely to die

Early Parkinson's May Prompt Vision Problems

Changes in sight could signal disease a decade before motor symptoms surface, study suggests

Parkinson's Disease and Melanoma May Occur Together, Study Finds

Doctors should counsel patients that if they have one disease, they're at risk of the other

Study Hints at Link Between Some Statins, Parkinson's Risk

But the connection was only seen with certain types of the cholesterol-lowering drugs

Does a Low-Fat Dairy Habit Boost Parkinson's Risk?

Study showed 3 or more servings daily raised chances of the movement disorder, but absolute risk still low

What You Need to Know About Antidepressants

They work by affecting brain chemicals that regulate mood, FDA explains

Black, Hispanic Americans Less Likely to See a Neurologist

They more often wind up in the ER and face higher medical costs than white patients, study shows

Study Looks at Parkinson's Effect on Life Span

2-year difference seen between people with degenerative brain diseases and their healthy peers

Parkinson's Disease May Originate in Gut, Study Says

Swedish scientists find link through vagus nerve removal

150-Year-Old Drug May Shorten 'Off' Time for Parkinson's Patients

Study finds apomorphine cuts the time until levodopa kicks in for those with advanced disease

FDA OKs 1st At-Home Genetic Tests for 10 Disorders

Saliva analysis can indicate higher risk of Parkinson's disease, among others, agency says

Hepatitis Infection May Raise Risk for Parkinson's Disease

New study adds to evidence that these conditions might be linked somehow

Exercising 2.5 Hours a Week May Slow Parkinson's Progression

Even people with advanced disease might benefit, researchers say

New Parkinson's Drug Xadago Approved

To help prevent 'off' episodes among users of levodopa/carbidopa

FDA OKs Parkinson's Add-On Drug

Xadago is taken during 'off' periods when symptoms escalate

Could Parkinson's Disease Raise Stroke Risk?

Or is the link the other way around? Study finds a connection, but cause-and-effect isn't clear

Is It Parkinson's or Something Else? Blood Test Might Tell

But new technique needs more study, researchers say

New Parkinson's Drug May Combat Movement Difficulties

Opicapone, added to standard treatment, appears safe and well-tolerated, researchers say

Welders Showed Increased Risk of Parkinson-Like Symptoms in Study

Exposure to manganese in welding fumes appears to affect movement, researchers report

Exercise May Be Real Medicine for Parkinson's Disease

Physical activity helps improve gait and balance, research review finds

Was Football Safer Back in the Day?

Study found those who played in high school in 1950s and '60s don't face increased risk of dementia

New Parkinson's Gene Identified

Scientists say it's linked to higher risk of early onset disease in white people

Inhaled Version of Parkinson's Drug May Help Keep Symptoms at Bay

Levodopa pill can wear off, but a powdered version can come to the rescue, study finds