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NINDS Disorders is an index of neurological conditions provided by the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. This valuable tool offers detailed descriptions, facts on treatment and prognosis, and patient organization contact information for over 500 identified neurological disorders.

Neurology Now
Turning Back the Clock. 05.01.2009
Parkinson's Disease Video with Holly Robinson Peete!!. 05.01.2009
The Cost of Care. 01.01.2009
Good Golly, Miss Holly!!. 01.01.2009
The State of Stem Cell Research. 01.01.2009
Risky Business. 11.01.2008
Maximize Your Drug Plan. 11.01.2008
New Study Links Parkinson's and Pesticides. 09.01.2008
Hidden Pressure. 09.01.2008
Independence Day. 07.01.2008
Common Drugs May Cause Cognitive Problems. 07.01.2008
Driving advice for people with epilepsy, Parkinson's, and Alzheimer's, and their families.. 07.01.2008
Transportation Options. 07.01.2008
QUICK TIPS: Parkinson's Patch is Recalled. 05.01.2008
SCREENING ROOM: Shaken: Journey into the Mind of a Parkinson's Patient. 05.01.2008
PARKINSON'S DISEASE. 05.01.2008
Parkinson's and Music. 03.01.2008
Parkinson's and Depression. 01.01.2008
Mindful Of Pain. 11.01.2007
Parkinson's caregiving. 09.01.2007
What the Nose Knows. 09.01.2007
Bay Window: After being abandoned because of Parkinson's, I looked out at the world with new eyes.. 09.01.2007
Battling the Black Dog. 07.01.2007
Patched Up. 07.01.2007
Your Questions Answered: PARKINSON'S. 05.01.2007
The Great Walk of China. 01.01.2007
Brain Stimulation Works Earlier in Parkinson's. 01.01.2007
Your Questions Answered: PARKINSON'S DISEASE. 01.01.2007
SAVING SERGEANT RADKE. 09.01.2006
An Open Letter to Muhammad Ali. 07.01.2006
Your Questions Answered: PARKINSON'S. 07.01.2006
Muhammad Ali as the Face of Parkinson's. 05.01.2006
Linking Head Trauma to Parkinsonism. 05.01.2006
AAN Press Releases
Research Identifies How Pesticides May Increase Risk of Parkinson’s Disease 02.03.2014
New Video Shares Inside Look at Living with Parkinson’s Disease 12.05.2013
Depression May Increase Your Risk of Parkinson’s Disease 10.02.2013
Stopping Cholesterol Drugs May Be Associated with Increased Risk of Parkinson’s 07.24.2013
Meta-Analysis: Bug and Weed Killers, Solvents May Increase Risk of Parkinson’s Disease 05.27.2013
Parkinson’s Can Lead to Anxiety and Other Non-Motor Symptoms, Even Early On 01.14.2013
Study: Parkinson’s Disease Itself Does Not Increase Risk of Gambling, Shopping Addiction 01.07.2013
NAVIGATING LIFE WITH PARKINSON DISEASE 11.15.2012
Head Injury + Pesticide Exposure = Triple the Risk of Parkinson’s Disease 11.12.2012
Clinical Trial: Deep Brain Stimulation Helps Parkinson’s Patients Over Long Term 06.20.2012
Clinical Trial: Intestinal Gel Reduces ‘Off’ Time in Advanced Parkinson’s Disease 04.17.2012
Good News for Parkinson’s Patients: Drugs May Ease Depression without Worsening Motor Problems 04.11.2012
Astronaut with Parkinson’s Calls on Patients to Take Charge of Their Future 04.05.2012
Veteran Astronaut Receives AAN’s Public Leadership in Neurology Award 02.21.2012
Study: Weight Training Improves Parkinson’s Symptoms 02.16.2012
Michael J. Fox Calls on Parkinson’s Patients, Community to Join “Fox Trial Finder” in New Issue of Neurology Now® 12.08.2011
People with Parkinson’s Disease More Likely to Have Leg Restlessness than Restless Leg Syndrome 11.09.2011
People with Parkinson’s Disease May Have Double The Risk for Melanoma, a Dangerous Skin Cancer 06.06.2011
The Doctor Will See All of You Now? Group Doctor Visits May Be Feasible for Parkinson’s Disease 04.27.2011
Investigational Drug May Reduce Involuntary Movements in People with Parkinson's Disease 04.12.2011
Using Amphetamines May Increase Risk of Parkinson’s Disease 02.20.2011
Eating Berries May Lower Risk of Parkinson’s 02.13.2011
Holiday Recipe Help for People with Trouble Smelling and Tasting Food 12.16.2010
How Well Is Your Doctor Caring for People with Parkinson’s Disease? New AAN Tool Helps Measure Care 11.29.2010
New Clues on Why Some People with Parkinson’s Die Sooner 10.04.2010
Guideline Issued for Treating Sleep, Constipation, Sexual Problems in Parkinson’s Disease 03.15.2010
Years of Smoking Associated with Lower Parkinson’s Risk, Not Number of Cigarettes Per Day 03.10.2010
An Ibuprofen a Day Could Keep Parkinson’s Disease Away 02.17.2010
Industrial Cleaner Linked to Increased Risk of Parkinson’s Disease 02.07.2010
Drivers with Parkinson’s Disease at Higher Risk of Crashes in Low Visibility 10.05.2009
Actress Holly Robinson Peete Hosts Academy’s First Patient Education Video 04.28.2009
Reproductive Factors May Protect Women from Parkinson’s Disease 02.25.2009
Family History of Melanoma Linked to Parkinson’s Disease 02.16.2009
Sleep Disorder May Be Early Sign of Dementia or Parkinson’s Disease 12.24.2008
Are Older Antidepressants Better for Depression in Parkinson’s Disease? 12.17.2008
AAN Foundation and The Parkinson’s Disease Foundation Honor Chicago Researcher for Parkinson’s Research 05.30.2008
High Blood Pressure Pill Cuts Risk of Parkinson’s Disease 02.06.2008
Over-the-Counter Pain Medications May Reduce Risk of Parkinson’s Disease 11.05.2007
Gene Abnormality Tied to Getting Parkinson’s Disease at a Younger Age 09.17.2007
People with Early Parkinson’s Report Hallucinations, Sleepiness 07.09.2007
Does Amateur Boxing Cause Brain Damage? 05.02.2007
Depression May Be Early Sign of Parkinson’s Disease 04.27.2007
Exercise May Lower Risk for Parkinson’s Disease 04.23.2007
Baylor College Neurologist Honored by AAN for Parkinson’s Research 04.11.2007
Drug Reduces Daily “Off” Time for Parkinson Patients 04.02.2007
Drug Helps Prevent Hip Fractures in Parkinson Disease 03.19.2007
Drug Improves Tremors, Involuntary Movements in Parkinson Patients 01.01.2007
Parkinson Disease Can Lead to Errors on Driving Test 11.27.2006
Appetite Changes, Depression Signal Impulse Control Disorders in Parkinson Disease 10.09.2006
Parkinson Patients Can Be Apathetic without Depression 07.10.2006
Muhammad Ali’s Toughest Fight: Neurology Now Tells the Inside Story 04.06.2006
Parkinson Disease Increases Risk of Osteoporosis 03.24.2006
Compulsive Behaviors Are Common from Parkinson Treatment 03.24.2006
New Guidelines Improve Diagnosis and Quality of Life for People with Parkinson Disease 03.24.2006
Ibuprofen May Lower Risk of Parkinson’s Disease 04.14.2005
Study Shows Possible Link Between Parkinson's Disease Medication and Cardiac Valve Disease 04.28.2004
APOE Gene Linked to Parkinson’s Disease 04.27.2004
Molecule Pumped Directly into Brain Improves Parkinson's Disease Symptoms 04.27.2004
Parkinson's Disease Cell Loss Starts Years Before Diagnosis 04.27.2004
Clozapine effective for controlling dyskinesias in people with severe Parkinson's 02.09.2004
Some relatives of people with Parkinson’s disease have higher risk for action tremor 10.13.2003
Parkinson’s Medication Linked to Gambling 08.11.2003
Parkinson’s Disease Linked to High Iron Intake 06.09.2003
Fruit Consumption Related to Increased Risk of Parkinson’s Disease? 04.02.2003
Early Levodopa Treatment: Does It Slow or Hasten Parkinson’s Disease? 04.01.2003
Parkinson's Implant Improves Quality of Life Long Term 03.31.2003
Caffeine and Estrogen Affect Parkinson’s Disease Risk in Postmenopausal Women 03.10.2003
Study Correlates Driving Impairment with Parkinson's Disease 12.09.2002
Dietary Intake of Vitamin E May Reduce Risk of Parkinson’s Disease 10.21.2002
Depressed People More Likely to Develop Parkinson's 05.27.2002
Development of Dementia in Parkinson's Patients Associated with up to Three-Fold Increase in Mortality 04.18.2002
Drug Reduces Hallucinations and Improves Cognitive Performance for Parkinson's Patients 04.18.2002
Fetal Cell Transplants Show Long-Term Benefit for Parkinson's 04.17.2002
Effectiveness of Drugs Used To Treat Parkinson's Disease In Early, Later Stages Measured 04.16.2002
Green Tea Extract Polyphenol May Have a Protective Effect on Parkinson's Disease 04.16.2002
Effectiveness of Drugs Used To Treat Parkinson's Disease In Early, Later Stages Measured 04.16.2002
Guideline: Review of New Drugs for Treating Parkinson's Does Not Alter Existing Treatment Guidelines 01.07.2002
Electrical Brain Stimulation Reduces Parkinson’s Symptoms 11.26.2001
Younger, More Educated Parkinson's Patients More Likely to Use Alternative Treatments 09.10.2001
Constipation Linked to Increased Risk of Developing Parkinson’s Disease 08.13.2001

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Parkinson's Disease

Parkinson's disease (PD) belongs to a group of conditions called motor system disorders, which are the result of the loss of dopamine-producing brain cells. The four primary symptoms of PD are tremor, or trembling in hands, arms, legs, jaw, and face; rigidity, or stiffness of the limbs and trunk; bradykinesia, or slowness of movement; and postural instability, or impaired balance and coordination. As these symptoms become more pronounced, patients may have difficulty walking, talking, or completing other simple tasks. PD usually affects people over the age of 50.  Early symptoms of PD are subtle and occur gradually.  In some people the disease progresses more quickly than in others.  As the disease progresses, the shaking, or tremor, which affects the majority of PD patients may begin to interfere with daily activities.  Other symptoms may include depression and other emotional changes; difficulty in swallowing, chewing, and speaking; urinary problems or constipation; skin problems; and sleep disruptions.  There are currently no blood or laboratory tests that have been proven to help in diagnosing sporadic PD.  Therefore the diagnosis is based on medical history and a neurological examination.  The disease can be difficult to diagnose accurately.   Doctors may sometimes request brain scans or laboratory tests in order to rule out other diseases.

Treatment

At present, there is no cure for PD, but a variety of medications provide dramatic relief from the symptoms.  Usually, patients are given levodopa combined with carbidopa.  Carbidopa delays the conversion of levodopa into dopamine until it reaches the brain.  Nerve cells can use levodopa to make dopamine and replenish the brain's dwindling supply.  Although levodopa helps at least three-quarters of parkinsonian cases, not all symptoms respond equally to the drug. Bradykinesia and rigidity respond best, while tremor may be only marginally reduced. Problems with balance and other symptoms may not be alleviated at all.  Anticholinergics may help control tremor and rigidity.  Other drugs, such as bromocriptine, pramipexole, and ropinirole, mimic the role of dopamine in the brain, causing the neurons to react as they would to dopamine.  An antiviral drug, amantadine, also appears to reduce symptoms.  In May 2006, the FDA approved rasagiline to be used along with levodopa for patients with advanced PD or as a single-drug treatment for early PD. In some cases, surgery may be appropriate if the disease doesn't respond to drugs. A therapy called deep brain stimulation (DBS) has now been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. In DBS, electrodes are implanted into the brain and connected to a small electrical device called a pulse generator that can be externally programmed. DBS can reduce the need for levodopa and related drugs, which in turn decreases the involuntary movements called dyskinesias that are a common side effect of levodopa. It also helps to alleviate fluctuations of symptoms and to reduce tremors, slowness of movements, and gait problems. DBS requires careful programming of the stimulator device in order to work correctly.

Prognosis

PD is both chronic, meaning it persists over a long period of time, and progressive, meaning its symptoms grow worse over time.  Although some people become severely disabled, others experience only minor motor disruptions. Tremor is the major symptom for some patients, while for others tremor is only a minor complaint and other symptoms are more troublesome.  No one can predict which symptoms will affect an individual patient, and the intensity of the symptoms also varies from person to person.

Research

The National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) conducts PD research in laboratories at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and also supports additional research through grants to major medical institutions across the country.  Current research programs funded by the NINDS are using animal models to study how the disease progresses and to develop new drug therapies. Scientists looking for the cause of PD continue to search for possible environmental factors, such as toxins, that may trigger the disorder, and study genetic factors to determine how defective genes play a role.  Other scientists are working to develop new protective drugs that can delay, prevent, or reverse the disease.More information about Parkinson's Disease research is available at http://www.ninds.nih.gov/research/parkinsonsweb/index.htm

View a list of studies currently seeking patients.

View more studies on this condition.

Read additional information from Medline Plus.

Organizations

American Parkinson Disease Association

Seeks to “Ease the Burden – Find the Cure” through funding scientific research. Provides comprehensive patient/caregiver support and education.

135 Parkinson Avenue
Staten Island, NY 10305-1425
Tel: 718-981-8001 800-223-2732 Young Onset Center: 877-223-3801
Fax: 718-981-4399

National Parkinson Foundation

Provides research, patient services, clinical studies, public and professional education, and physician referrals at over 60 locations and through a nationwide network of chapters and support groups.

200 SE 1st Street
Suite 800
Miami, FL 33131
Tel: 305-243-6666 Helpline 800-473-4636
Fax: 305-243-5595

Davis Phinney Foundation

Dedicated to helping people with Parkinson’s disease to live well today. Provides information, inspiration, tools, resources, and opportunities to people living with PD and care partners to better manage their disease and promote increased engagement in health.

1722 14th Street, Suite 150
Boulder, CO 80302
Tel: 866-358-0285 303-733-3340
Fax: 303-733-3350

Parkinson Alliance

Raises and distributes money for the most promising research leading to a cure for Parkinson's disease. Partners with the Tuchman Foundation to ensure that every dollar donated by individuals and all net proceeds of events go directly to research. The Alliance is also devoted to improving quality of life within the DBS-STN community through an affiliated resource, www.DBS-STN.org.

P.O. Box 308
Kingston, NJ 08528-0308
Tel: 609-688-0870 800-579-8440
Fax: 609-688-0875

Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson's Research

Dedicated to advancing a cure for Parkinson’s disease by identifying promising research and raising funds for research support.

Grand Central Station
P.O. Box 4777
New York, NY 10163
Tel: 212-509-0995

Parkinson's Action Network (PAN)

Non-profit education and advocacy organization that serves as a voice for the Parkinson's community by fighting for promising research that will produce effective treatments and a cure.

1025 Vermont Ave., NW
Suite 1120
Washington, DC 20005
Tel: 800-850-4726 202-638-4101
Fax: 202-638-7257

Parkinson's Disease Foundation (PDF)

National nonprofit organization that supports Parkinson's disease research, education, and public advocacy programs.

1359 Broadway
Suite 1509
New York, NY 10018
Tel: 212-923-4700 800-457-6676
Fax: 212-923-4778

The Parkinson's Institute and Clinical Center

Non-profit organization conducting patient care and research activities in the neurological specialty area of movement disorders.

675 Almanor Avenue
Sunnyvale, CA 94085
Tel: 408-734-2800 800-655-2273
Fax: 408-734-8522

Parkinson's Resource Organization

Helps families affected by Parkinson’s by offering emotional and educational support programs, publishing a monthly newsletter about quality of life and family issues, providing information and referral services, promoting advocacy and public awareness, and providing respite for family caregivers.

74-090 El Paseo, Suite 104
Palm Desert, CA 92260
Tel: 760-773-5628 877-775-4111 877-775-4111
Fax: 760-773-9803

Bachmann-Strauss Dystonia & Parkinson Foundation

Non-profit foundation that supports patients, family members, researchers, clinicians, and volunteers working in partnership to find better medical treatments and a cure for dystonia and Parkinson's disease.

Fred French Building 551 Fifth Avenue, at 45th Street
Suite 520
New York, NY 10176
Tel: 212-682-9900
Fax: 212-987-0662

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