Parkinson’s Disease Essay

1343 words - 5 pages

Parkinson’s Disease (PD) is a chronic neurological disease that effects about 329 per 100,000 people in the US. The average onset of this disease usually is for people over the age of 50, with the baby boomers getting older there may be an increase in this disease, as much as 9 million people worldwide. (Pawha 2010)
The disease happens when the cells in the brain are damaged or stop-producing Dopamine, which helps with muscle movement, thus leaves those patients unable to control their movements. The exact cause is still not known but doctors believe that toxins such as free radicals may be a factor in causing this disease. (Amoniff, 1994) Others have thought that the natural process of aging causes the brain to lose the ability to produce dopamine, furthermore patients with Parkinson’s loose even more dopamine as they get older. (Zigmond, 2002) In the twentieth century, it was thought that PD was caused by environmental factors not heredity, but for the last 100 years, the studies show that patients with Parkinson’s disease have a relative affected by the disease as well. (Moore, 2005) Many studies have been done on twins; new research is uncovering that there may be a link connected genes with this disease. (Moore, 2005) Back in WW11 many twin studies were done on patients that were thought to have PD, they found a very common link between the twins. (Pankratz, 2004) As genetics are being studied more and more with PD, they are finding common links between people with PD and family members who have had the disease in the past. (Pankratz, 2004)
There are environmental factors that can contribute to this disease as well, studies have been conducted and patients that were exposed to well water, pesticides or living in rural areas can lead to a higher rate of PD, but the results are still not definite. (Zigmond, 2002) There are many things that are thought to cause this disease but nothing is found to be concrete and therefore there is no definitive etiology of Parkinson’s disease.
James Parkinson founded this disease in 1817 when he wrote a paper on the clinical symptoms that he had seen.(Nussbaum, 1997) The Disease is a neurodegenerative(loss of a functioning neuron) movement disorder caused by the damage to the dopamine cells in the brain. (Moore, 2005) This is a result from the loss of function of the basal ganglia cells, which in turn is caused from the failure of dopamine cells in the substantis nigra, located in the mid-brain. (Aminoff, 1994) The body cannot produce enough dopamine in the brain and therefore the voluntary movement that you do daily cannot be controlled when you have this disease. Therefore, when there is a lack of dopamine the muscle movement cannot be controlled, causing the tremors or shuffle steps. (Aminoff, 1994) The Lewy Bodies (which are abnormal proteins that develop inside a neuron) upon autopsy has been the hallmark sign of PD. These Lewy Bodies are a result of abnormal...

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