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.

Symptoms

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.

Treatment

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
9/28/2017
9/28/2017
Coffee Doesn't Help Parkinson's Motor Disorders

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

9/28/2017
Parkinson's and Caffeine

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

9/6/2017
Why Your Nose May Be Key to Parkinson's Risk

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

8/31/2017
New Hope From Old Drugs in Fight Against Parkinson's

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

8/17/2017
Virtual House Calls for Speedy, Effective Parkinson's Care

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

8/11/2017
Singing May Be Good Medicine for Parkinson's Patients

Voice coaching appears to help swallowing and breathing, study finds

8/4/2017
Diabetes Drug Shows Promise Against Parkinson's

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

7/13/2017
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

7/11/2017
Early Parkinson's May Prompt Vision Problems

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

7/7/2017
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

6/20/2017
Study Hints at Link Between Some Statins, Parkinson's Risk

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

6/8/2017
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

6/2/2017
What You Need to Know About Antidepressants

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

5/17/2017
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

5/15/2017
Study Looks at Parkinson's Effect on Life Span

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

4/26/2017
Parkinson's Disease May Originate in Gut, Study Says

Swedish scientists find link through vagus nerve removal

4/21/2017
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

4/6/2017
FDA OKs 1st At-Home Genetic Tests for 10 Disorders

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

3/30/2017
Hepatitis Infection May Raise Risk for Parkinson's Disease

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

3/29/2017
Exercising 2.5 Hours a Week May Slow Parkinson's Progression

Even people with advanced disease might benefit, researchers say

3/22/2017
New Parkinson's Drug Xadago Approved

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

3/22/2017
FDA OKs Parkinson's Add-On Drug

Xadago is taken during 'off' periods when symptoms escalate

2/23/2017
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

2/8/2017
Is It Parkinson's or Something Else? Blood Test Might Tell

But new technique needs more study, researchers say

1/4/2017
New Parkinson's Drug May Combat Movement Difficulties

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

12/28/2016
Welders Showed Increased Risk of Parkinson-Like Symptoms in Study

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

12/22/2016
Exercise May Be Real Medicine for Parkinson's Disease

Physical activity helps improve gait and balance, research review finds

12/12/2016
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

11/29/2016
New Parkinson's Gene Identified

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

10/12/2016
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

9/8/2016
Cellular Defect May Be Linked to Parkinson's: Study

Abnormality might apply to all forms of the disease, researchers say

8/29/2016
Experimental Test Detects Parkinson's Disease Earlier

A quicker diagnosis would allow people to participate in drug trials, researcher says

8/12/2016
Scientists Zero in on Brain Area Linked to 'Parkinson's Gait'

Discovery could lead to new treatments for the disease's jerky, unbalanced walking, researchers say

7/12/2016
Cancer Drug Shows Early Promise for Parkinson's Disease

Medication was generally found safe, and study findings hinted at a benefit

7/11/2016
Study Links Severe Head Injury to Parkinson's Risk

Researchers only found an association, could not explain why connection might exist

6/27/2016
Donated Blood Won't Transmit Alzheimer's, Parkinson's Disease

Swedish study of nearly 1.5 million patients finds no increased risk when blood came from affected people

6/20/2016
Parkinson's Rates Rising Among American Men

Smoking is known to help shield against the disease, so declines in that habit may play a role, experts say

5/2/2016
Nuplazid Approved for Parkinson's Hallucinations

Half of people with Parkinson's may have them

3/22/2016
Antipsychotic Drugs Tied to Risk of Early Death in Parkinson's Patients

But it's unclear whether the medications or the disease are the key factor; study only showed an association

3/21/2016
Rosacea Might Boost Parkinson's Risk: Study

Research found an association, but did not prove a cause-and-effect relationship between the two conditions

3/18/2016
Thought Processing a Concern of Parkinson's Patients, Study Says

Those with thinking difficulties struggle to follow conversations or recall words

3/10/2016
Agent Orange Linked to Bladder Cancer, Thyroid Problems, Panel Says

Herbicide was used during Vietnam War, and vets with Parkinson's-like symptoms can file claim for the condition

1/19/2016
Study Questions Use of Physical Therapy for Early Parkinson's

Future research should investigate more intensive programs, researchers say

1/13/2016
High Uric-Acid Levels, Lower Risk of Parkinson's?

Link found only in men, researchers say

1/13/2016
Dementia Drug May Lower Risk of Falls Among Parkinson's Patients

Those who took rivastigmine in study were 45 percent less likely to have an accident

1/11/2016
Early Weight Loss With Parkinson's May Be a Red Flag

Researchers suspect this could indicate worse form of disease

12/23/2015
Hepatitis C May Be Tied to Greater Risk for Parkinson's Disease

People with the virus also nearly 30 percent more likely to develop the nervous system disorder, researchers say

12/9/2015
Pesticide in Milk Years Ago May Be Linked to Signs of Parkinson's: Study

Men in Hawaii who drank more milk showed brain changes, but more research needed to confirm link

11/18/2015
New Clues to Easing Side Effects From Parkinson's Drug

Studies in mice, monkeys point to a compound that might lessen levodopa's debilitating effects