What is Parkinson’s Disease? (Definition)

Get the latest health and medical news headlines impacting Parkinson’s disease. Discover the newest medical breakthroughs and the latest treatment options being tested and brought to market by medical researchers.

Parkinson’s disease is a progressive disorder of the nervous system that affects movement. It is estimated that nearly one million people in the US are living with Parkinson’s disease. The specific cause of Parkinson’s is still unknown, and although there is presently no cure, there are treatment options such as medication and surgery to manage its symptoms. Parkinson’s disease usually develops gradually, sometimes starting with a barely noticeable tremor, stiffness or slowing of movement.

The specific group of symptoms that an individual experiences varies from person to person. Primary motor signs of Parkinson’s disease include the following.

  • tremor of the hands, arms, legs, jaw and face
  • bradykinesia or slowness of movement
  • rigidity or stiffness of the limbs and trunk
  • postural instability or impaired balance and coordination

Parkinson’s Disease Treatment Research News

New infusion therapy may help smooth out movement for patients with Parkinson’s

(SOURCE: AUGUSTA UNIVERSITY) - Constant infusion of a drug now used intermittently to “rescue” patients with Parkinson’s from bouts of immobility may also help avoid these debilitating symptoms and smooth out their movement throughout the day, physician-scientists say. “As presently used, this therapy helps bridge a gap,” said Dr. Kapil D. Sethi, neurologist at the Medical College of Georgia Department of ...
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Parkinson’s Research News: Cell disposal faults could contribute to Parkinson’s, study finds

(SOURCE: UNIVERSITY OF NOTTINGHAM) - A fault with the natural waste disposal system that helps to keep our brain cell 'batteries' healthy may contribute to neurodegenerative disease, a new study has found. The research, led by academics at The University of Nottingham and published in the journal Cell Death and Disease, centres on problems with mitochondria -- the powerhouses which produce energy ...
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(SOURCE: GEORGETOWN UNIVERSITY MEDICAL CENTER) - A synthesized steroid mirroring one naturally made by the dogfish shark prevents the buildup of a lethal protein implicated in some neurodegenerative diseases, reports an international research team studying an animal model of Parkinson’s disease. The clustering of this protein, alpha-synuclein (α-synuclein), is the hallmark of Parkinson’s and dementia with Lewy bodies, suggesting a new potential ...
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Parkinson’s Disease Research: A natural compound can block the formation of toxins associated with Parkinson’s Disease

(SOURCE: UNIVERSITY OF CAMBRIDGE) - Squalamine, a natural product studied for its anticancer and anti-infective properties, could also lead to future treatments for Parkinson’s Disease. A naturally-occurring compound has been found to block a molecular process thought to underlie Parkinson’s Disease, and to suppress its toxic products, scientists have reported. The findings, although only preliminary, suggest that the compound, called squalamine, ...
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Parkinson’s Disease Treatment News: Single Protein May Hold Secret to Treating Parkinson’s Disease and More

(SOURCE: GLADSTONE INSTITUTES) - A new way to regulate protein levels and functions could be the answer to treating devastating neurological conditions. New details learned about a key cellular protein could lead to treatments for neurodegenerative diseases, such as Parkinson’s, Huntington’s, Alzheimer’s, and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS).  At their root, these disorders are triggered by misbehaving proteins in the brain. The proteins ...
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(SOURCE: UNIVERSITY OF HELSINKI) - A research group led by University of Helsinki Docent Timo Myöhänen has succeeded in correcting the motor symptoms associated with Parkinson’s disease in mice. These results are promising in terms of treatment, since Parkinson's disease is practically always diagnosed only after motor symptoms appear. Up to two per cent of people over 60 contract Parkinson’s. The disease ...
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Parkinson’s Research News: Standing Up May Unmask Cognitive Deficits in Patients with Parkinson’s

(SOURCE: Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center - BIDMC)  BOSTON – In a new study published online in the journal Neurology, a research team led by neurologists at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC) and neuropsychologists at Boston University has shown that when patients with Parkinson's disease experience a drop in blood pressure upon standing up – a condition known as orthostatic ...
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Parkinson’s Research News: Gene mutation linked to early onset of Parkinson’s disease in Caucasians

(IOWA STATE UNIVERSITY) AMES, Iowa – A defect in a gene that produces dopamine in the brain appears to accelerate the onset of Parkinson’s disease, according to new research from Iowa State University. The effect is particularly dramatic for people under age 50. Auriel Willette, an assistant professor of food science and human nutrition; and Joseph Webb, a graduate research ...
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Parkinson’s News: Researchers Find Genetic Mutation Which Confers Earlier Risk for Development of Parkinson’s

(MAYO CLINIC) According to a recent press release, a collaboration of 32 researchers in seven countries, led by scientists at Mayo Clinic's campus in Florida, has found a genetic mutation they say confers a risk for development of Parkinson's disease earlier than usual ...
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Combo Treadmill and Virtual Reality May Assist Parkinson’s and Dementia Patients

(AMERICAN FRIENDS OF TEL AVIV UNIVERSITY) According to a recent press release, a combination of virtual reality and treadmill training may prove effective in preventing dangerous falls associated with aging, Parkinson's disease, mild cognitive impairment or dementia, according to a new Tel Aviv University-Tel Aviv Sourasky Medical Center (TASMC) study published in The Lancet ...
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