Parkinson's disease, the second most common degenerative brain disease (after AIzheimer's), affects one million Americans and typically begins between ages 50 and 79. Characterized by tremor, slowness of movement, stiffness of the limbs and trunk, difficulty walking and lack of facial expression, the disease has no known cause. There is no preventive or cure for Parkinson's disease, but research is now making advances in both areas.
Latest development: For the first time ever, renowned neuroscientists, doctors and other health-care workers joined Parkinson's patients and family members at the World Parkinson Congress in Washington, DC, to discuss innovative therapies that show promise in controlling symptoms as well as restoring motor function.
HOW PARKINSON'S DEVELOPS
Parkinson's disease occurs when nerve cells (neurons) that control movement start to die off for unknown reasons. The result is a shortage of the brain-signaling chemical dopamine, which triggers the muscles that allow fluid body movements, such as lifting an atm or walking.
The decline in dopamine levels leads to tremor, incoordination, slowed, reduced movement and other Parkinson's symptoms.
Research reported at the congress…
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