Saturday, August 15, 2015

Latest Developments on Parkinson Disease Research

Last week, A FB friend and relative send me a note thanking me for the informative articles she has been following in my blogs. Specifically she mentioned my articles on Parkinson Disease. What attracted her attention is the fact that her mother was just recently diagnosed with PD. She wants to know what are the latest developments in the treatments of the disease as well as the medicines that my wife is currently taking.

As a result of this note, I did some Internet search on the latest research on PD that I am listing below. However, before you read the list, allow me again to post the following basic information about PD.

Parkinson's disease is a condition in which an area of the brain becomes progressively damaged over several years. The main signs of Parkinson's disease are tremor, slow movement, stiff and inflexible muscles. There is currently no cure for Parkinson’s disease. However, treatments are available to help reduce symptoms and maintain quality of life for as long as possible.

Therapy for Parkinson's disease focuses on treating the symptoms that undermine the patient’s quality of life - there is no cure.

Parkinson’s disease is caused by the destruction of dopamine-producing nerve cells, making it harder for the brain to control muscle movement.

Complications of Parkinson's disease includes chewing and swallowing difficulties, depression, sexual dysfunction and urinary incontinence.

There is no specific test for Parkinson’s disease, making it sometimes a difficult condition o diagnose, especially early on.

Risk factors for Parkinson’s disease include age, genetics, gender, toxin exposure and some medications such as anti-psychotics.

Current Therapy Recommendation: Medications, proper diet, daily exercise and social interaction. PD patients feel isolated and suffers side effects from the Carbo-Levo dopa medications specifically depression, nausea, itching, hallucination and loss of memory. These side effects can be mild or severe. If severe consult your neurologist.

Parkinson's disease stages include:

Stage one: During this initial phase of the disease, a person usually experiences mild symptoms, such as tremors or shaking in a limb. During this stage, friends and family can usually detect changes caused by Parkinson's, such as poor posture, loss of balance, and abnormal facial expressions.

Stage two: In the second stage of Parkinson's disease, the person's symptoms are bilateral, affecting both limbs and both sides of the body. The person usually encounters problems walking or maintaining balance, and the inability to complete normal physical tasks becomes more apparent.

Stage three: Stage three symptoms of Parkinson's disease can be rather severe and include the inability to walk straight or to stand. There is a noticeable slowing of physical movements in stage three.

Stage four: This stage of the disease is accompanied by severe symptoms of Parkinson's. Walking may still occur, but it is often limited, and rigidity and bradykinesia -- a slowing of movement -- are often visible. During this stage, most patients are unable to complete day-to-day tasks, and usually cannot live on their own. The tremors or shakiness of the earlier stages of the disease, however, may lessen or become non-existent for unknown reasons during this time.

Stage five: In the last or final stage of Parkinson's disease, the person is usually unable to take care of himself or herself and may not be able to stand or walk. A person at stage five usually requires constant one-on-one nursing care.

Here are some of the latest Parkinson's disease research from prestigious universities and journals throughout the world.

1. Scientists probing molecular origins of Parkinson's disease highlight two proteins
Using a new approach to focus on relevant molecules, scientists discover two gene-regulating proteins that appear to protect neurons most affected by Parkinson's disease.

2.Parkinson's could be slowed with existing drug
A drug that has been used for decades to treat liver disease could be used to slow the progression of Parkinson's disease, according to researchers testing the drug on fruit flies.

3.Could sleeping on one's side reduce risk of Alzheimer's?
New research suggests that sleeping on one’s side is better for removal of brain waste, an accumulation of which may contribute to the development of neuro degenerative diseases.

4.Parkinson's disease risk 'lowered by diabetes drug'
Diabetes patients treated with glitazone have a lower risk of developing Parkinson's disease, suggesting the target of the drug could be a fruitful target for the condition.

5.Parkinson's disease may be treatable with antimalaria drugs
Breakthrough study shows existing malaria drugs directly activate the brain receptor Nurr1 and significantly reduce Parkinson's behavior in rats without inducing dyskinesia.

6.Parkinson's 'a risk factor for most cancers in Taiwan'
A new study has found a link between Parkinson's disease in Taiwanese patients and increased risk of 16 different cancer types, including colorectal, kidney, prostate cancers.

7.Parkinson's brain implant approved by FDA
A new implantable brain stimulation device has been given approval for reducing the symptoms of Parkinson's disease and essential tremor.

8.Depressed people may be at risk of Parkinson's disease
Researchers suggest that there is a direct association between Parkinson's disease and depression after conducting research over a timespan of more than 2 decades.


Personal Note: My wife was first diagnosed with PD in the winter of 2012. I could see the progression of this malady that affects the quality of her daily life and activities. She needs social interaction( e-mail, FB messages or phone call will be appreciated) from friends and relatives as well as your prayers.

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