Parkinson Disease : A Progressive Disorder

4669 WordsAug 21, 201619 Pages
2.1 Overview The most frequent neurodegenerative movement disorder today is Parkinson Disease (Barth et al., 2011), with a prevalence which increases with age – from 0.01% of people in the age group 40 to 44 years, increasing steadily to approximately 1% at age 65 and 22% at age 85 or over. Due to an aging society, increasing industrialization and environmental factors, the number of patients will grow rapidly in the forthcoming decades. Parkinson’s disease (PD) is a progressive disorder of unknown etiology that has no cure. It is characterized by bradykinesia, rest tremor, cogwheel rigidity and postural instability, along with a number of non-motor signs. The neurochemical hallmark of PD is dopamine loss in the nigrostriatal dopamine system (Adler, 2011). In the substantia nigra (SN) of people with PD there is a loss of neuronal cells, demonstrated by the degeneration of brainstem nuclei (Brooks, 1998). This typically shows as Lewy bodies – spherical masses of protein that develop inside nerve cells. However the progression of neuronal loss is quite variable in different PD patients and at different phases of the disease. At present there is no treatment that affects the degeneration, for example by slowing the rate of cell death or by protecting neurons. Unfortunately by the time that PD is first diagnosed, 60% to 70% of the neurons in the SN responsible for dopamine have degenerated and the striatal dopamine content is reduced by 80% (Adler, 2011) and neuroprotective
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