Parkinson’s Disease Explained

Parkinson’s disease (PD) is a  motor system disorder, which is the result of the loss of dopamine-producing brain cells. The  primary symptoms  are tremor; rigidity; bradykinesia and coordination.  Patients may have difficulty talking, walking,  or completing other  tasks. PD usually affects people  aged of 50 or over. Sometimes the disease progresses more quickly in one person than for another.  In time the shaking, or tremor, which affects the most PD patients may begin to interfere with their daily activities.  There are other symptoms such as: depression, emotional changes, difficulty in swallowing, chewing,  speaking, urinary problems or constipation, skin problems and disruptive sleep . The diagnosis is based on medical history and a neurological examination and can be difficult to diagnose accurately.    Brain scans or laboratory tests are used in order to rule out other diseases.
 There is no known cure for PD at this time, but a variety of medications provide  relief from the symptoms.   Levodopa and Carbidopa are two that have had some success.   Although Levodopa helps at least three-quarters of patients, not all symptoms respond equally to the drug. Bradykinesia and rigidity respond best but tremors may be only partially reduced.  Balance and some other symptoms may not be alleviated at all.  Anticholinergics can help control rigidity and tremors.  There are other drugs that help including   Amantadine, which also appears to reduce symptoms.
Sometimes surgery may be indicated if the disease doesn’t respond to drugs. This surgery is called deep brain stimulation (DBS) and has  been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. In DBS, electrodes are implanted into the brain which are externally programmed. DBS can reduce the need for certain drugs, which can then decrease  involuntary movements called dyskinesia that are a side effect of Levodopa.The surgery can also help to alleviate fluctuations of symptoms by reducing tremors, gait problems and slowness of movements.
PD is both chronic and progressive.   Some people become severely disabled while others experience only minor motor disruptions. Tremor is the major symptom for some patients and a minor complaint for others.  It is impossible to know which symptoms will affect an individual patient or the intensity of the symptoms.
There are various research projects being undertaken through the National Institutes of Health (NIH) which also supports  research via grants to  medical institutions across the U.S.  There are research projects using animals to study the progression of the disease and hopefully to find new medications. Scientists are looking into causes like environmental factors, defective genes and toxins that may cause the disease. Others are trying to develop drugs that may be able to delay, prevent or even reverse the disease.
Parkinson’s patients have also been helped by state of the art physical therapy solutions to alleviate some of the debilitating symptoms of their movement disabilities. One such physical therapy product is the TUTOR system.
The ARMTUTOR™ and HANDTUTOR systems have been developed to allow for functional rehabilitation of the upper extremity including the shoulder, elbow, wrist and fingers. The system consists of an ergonomic wearable glove or arm brace together with dedicated rehabilitation software. The ARMTUTOR™ and HANDTUTOR  allow the physical and occupational therapist to report on and evaluate the patient’s functional rehabilitation progress. This allows the PT and OT to prescribe the correct customized and motivating intensive exercise practice to the manual rehabilitation therapy.
Intensive repetition of movement is achieved through  challenging games set to the patient’s  ability. The system provides detailed exercise performance instructions and precise feedback on the patient’s efforts. Controlled exercise of multijoints within the normal movement pattern prevents the development of undesired and compensatory joint movement and ensures better performance of functional tasks. Telerehabilitation allows the recovering patient to continue his physical therapy at home. The system is used by many leading rehabilitation centers worldwide and has full FDA and CE certification. See WWW.MEDITOUCH.CO.IL for more information.

One response to this post.

  1. Posted by ardentpt on October 30, 2012 at 5:44 pm

    Good Post.. We use biofeedback.


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