Parkinson's Disease

Parkinson's disease) is a degenerative disorder of the central nervous system. The motor symptoms of Parkinson's disease result from the death of dopamine-generating cells in the midbrain; the cause of this cell death is unknown.

The disease is named after the English doctor James Parkinson, who published the first detailed description in An Essay on the Shaking Palsy in 1817.

In addition to cognitive and motor symptoms, PD can impair other body functions. Sleep problems are a feature of the disease and can be worsened by medications.[1] Symptoms can manifest as daytime sleepiness, or insomnia. Alterations in the autonomic nervous system can lead to low blood pressure upon standing, oily skin, and excessive sweating. Constipation and gastric pains can be severe enough to cause extreme discomfort and even endanger health.

Parkinson's disease in most people has no specific known cause. However, a small proportion of cases can be attributed to known genetic factors. Other factors have been associated with the risk of developing PD, but no causal relationships have been proven.

A number of environmental factors have been associated with an increased risk of Parkinson's including: pesticide exposure, head injuries, and living in the country or farming. Rural environments and the drinking of well water may be risks as they are an indirect measures of exposure to pesticides

Lewy Bodies are abnormal aggregates of protein that develop inside nerve cells in Parkinson's Disease, Lewy body dementia and some other disorders. They are identified under the microscope when histology is performed on the brain.

A physician will diagnose Parkinson's disease from the medical history and a neurological evaluation There is no lab test that will clearly identify the disease, but brain scans are sometimes used to rule out disorders that could give rise to similar symptoms. People may be given levodopa and resulting relief of motor impairment tends to confirm diagnosis. The finding of Lewy bodies in the midbrain on autopsy is usually considered proof that the person had Parkinson's disease. The progress of the illness over time may reveal it is not Parkinson's disease, and some authorities recommend that the diagnosis be periodically reviewed.

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