About Parkinson's Disease
Parkinson disease is a brain disorder. It occurs when certain nerve cells (neurons) in a part of the brain called the "substantia nigra" die or become impaired. Normally, these cells produce a vital chemical known as dopamine. Dopamine allows smooth, coordinated function of the body's muscles and movement. When approximately 60% of the dopamine-producing cells are damaged, the symptoms of Parkinson disease appear.
A Complex Disorder
Parkinson's disease, a chronic and progressive neurological condition, is a complex neurological disorder and is the second most common neurodegenerative disorder of aging (after Alzheimer's disease), affecting more than 1.5 million Americans, with 40,000 to 60,000 new cases diagnosed each year.
"The ultimate goals of treatment include protection of dopaminergic cells from destruction by the degenerative process (neuroprotection), rescue of dying neurons, and replacement or functional restoration of damaged pathways and neuronal elements," says Dr. Watts. "Although these are achievable goals, current treatment strategies focus on symptom control and prevention or treatment of complications associated with symptomatic agents. Currently, there are insufficient data to recommend any specific regimen for neuroprotection."
Alternative Therapies "Or Not"?
From the American Parkinson Disease Association Spring 2006 Newsletter