The Prevention and Treatment of Parkinson's Disease

Parkinson's disease results from progressive damage to the nerves in the area of the brain responsible for controlling muscle tone and movement. The damaged cells are those needed to produce a neurotransmitter (chemical messenger in the brain) called dopamine. People with Parkinson's disease manufacture inadequate amounts of dopamine. As dopamine-containing neurons die off in PD, signals from the brain that coordinate movement and muscle function are transmitted too slowly. When the signals are received, the body is unable to respond normally. The first sign of PD is often a slight tremor in one hand. The shaking is generally not noticeable when the hands are moving or doing something. Other classic symptoms include slow movements, "shuffling" while walking, muscle stiffness, stooped posture, and a blank facial expression. Early and subtle symptoms include impaired handwriting ability, low speaking volume vague, aching pain in the limbs, neck, or back and decreased spinal flexibility.

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