A Look At Parkinson 's Disease

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A look at Parkinson’s disease Parkinson’s disease (PD) is the second most common neurodegenerative disease. Two other names for PD are shaking palsy and Paralysis agitans. Parkinson’s disease is initiated when the cells in the brain that produce dopamine die over time. Dopamine is a brain chemical used by nerve cells that helps to control the body 's muscle movement. Without those brain cells and the dopamine they produce, it becomes increasingly more difficult for the cells that control movement to send messages to the muscles; affecting the body’s movement. As time goes on the damage worsens. There is not a known cause as to why these brain cells die, although there are a few theories ("MedlinePlus Medical Encyclopedia:…show more content…
Research is still being done over this debate. It is thought that environmental factors by themselves are not a cause of PD, but the environmental factors may trigger the disease in people who are genetically susceptible. In a lot of cases it has been noted that many people who contact PD have lived in rural areas, specifically those who drink private well water, and (or) are agricultural workers (Larkin). In addition, Parkinson’s disease is sometimes seen as a mutation in the PARK2 gene. The PARK2 gene belongs to a gene family called PARK (as in Parkinson’s disease). By grouping the genes susceptible to mutations that cause PD it becomes easier for researchers to see similarities among genes. Gene families can also provide researchers with clues for identifying genes and gene patterns that are involved in particular diseases. It is estimated that researchers have identified nearly 200 PARK gene mutations that have the potential to become Parkinson’s disease. PARK2 gene mutations are usually associated with Juvenile PD and Young onset Parkinson’s disease (YOPD). There are fewer cases of PARK2 gene mutations in patients who develop the disease after the age of 50 ("PARK2 - Parkinson Disease (autosomal Recessive, Juvenile) 2, Parkin - Genetics Home Reference"). The National Parkinson foundation reports that the average age of PD diagnosis is 62.
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