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Haqqani: Parkinson’s disease increases stimulate research

0 2 years ago

According to the Parkinson’s Foundation, that number exceeds new U.S. diagnoses of multiple sclerosis, Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (Lou Gehrig’s disease or ALS) and muscular dystrophy. It is estimated that 1 million people are currently living with Parkinson’s and that number is expected to rise to 1.2 million by 2030.

The concern that diagnoses are increasing has brought new attention to Parkinson’s among those in the medical and research communities and to those in the general public.

Parkinson’s disease

Parkinson’s disease is classified as a neurodegenerative disorder because it creates an abnormality in an area of the brain that produces neurons referred to as dopamine. This part of the brain is called the substantia nigra. Dopamine is a specific neuro-transmitting substance that regulates movement in the body. As Parkinson’s damages this substance, movement and muscle function are often hampered.

Research has shown that men are 1.5% more likely than women to be diagnosed with Parkinson’s. In both men and women, Parkinson’s disease becomes more probable as people age. However, an estimated 4% to 10% of diagnoses are among those ages 50 years and under. Appearance of Parkinson’s in this age group is known as early onset Parkinson’s disease.

Genetics account for 10-15% of Parkinson’s diagnoses. Environmental considerations, including exposure to chemicals, head injuries and other factors have also been associated with it, but much remains to be learned about specific causes.


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