Parkinson 's Disease : A Progressive Neurodegenerative Movement Disease Essay

6696 WordsSep 27, 201627 Pages
Introduction The research problem Parkinson’s Disease (PD) is a progressive neurodegenerative movement disease affecting approximately 1% of people at age 60. It is the most second most commonly occurring neurodegenerative disease in the elderly (after Alzheimer’s Disease). In PD patients, loss of dopamine-producing neurons results in a range of motor and non-motor symptoms. The prevalence of PD increases with age, and currently there is no cure, no means of slowing the disease progression, and no means of prevention. Unfortunately there is currently no objective, quantifiable diagnostic test for PD – diagnosis relies on observation of a combination of visible symptoms by a specialist (typically a neurologist) and there is a high rate of misdiagnosis. Just as importantly, a patient may have the disease for many years before it is diagnosed. By the time of diagnosis, typically 60% or more of the neurons in the affected part of the brain (the substantia nigra) have already been lost. There is active research into the causes of PD and it is likely that both neuroprotective drugs and treatments to slow the disease progression will be developed. However, the efficacy of such treatments depends on early diagnosis, before the irreversible loss of dopaminergic neurons has occurred. Significance of the research The basic premise of the research is that PD, being a disease that affects movement, will cause changes in the characteristics of hand and finger movement and that some of
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