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Parkinson’s Disease

Central nervous system, including cerebrum and spinal cord, controls everything a man does and all his movements, but there exists great amount of diseases, that hamper and lock out the action of CNS, ipso facto brings out human motion abnormality. Among these diseases, Parkinson’s disease can be also found at the top of the list. A person with the Parkinson disease gradually loses completely the ability to control the body motion. Despite the fact that the disease is fairly frequent occurs these days, it cannot be completely treated and is under the scrutiny of doctors and scientists. Though, the medical science is under non-stop development and the key to treatment of the most serious diseases, even like Parkinson’s disease, will save the millions of precious lives soon.

Parkinson’s disease is a chronic disease of a central nervous system (of the cerebrum), that predominantly reveals itself by the disorders of motion activity, to which the vegetative and mental disorders are subsequently added (speech, handwriting, memory, cognitive disorders). Such disease affects both rich and poor, workers and intellectuals, sportsmen and politicians. According to WHO, currently there are about 3.7 million patients with Parkinson’s disease. From 70 to 220 people per 100 thousand, or about 2% of people in the general population were diagnosed with this disease. Among the chronic progressive CNS diseases, PD is the second after Alzheimer’s disease.

The name of the disease and the most vivid description of its clinical symptoms were given by a London physician James Parkinson, who published in 1917 his famous “Essay on the Shaking Palsy”.

PD is a common slowly progressive neurological disease that affects people aged 50-60 years. Scientists still do not know the causes of the death of cells in the basal ganglia of the brain. According to some assumptions, of great importance for the development of PD is genetic factor. Mentioned cell death leads to deficiency of the neurotransmitter dopamine, causing loss of control of voluntary and involuntary movements.

In recent years, the Parkinson’s disease has become younger significantly, and the development of the new methods of its treatment attracts more scientists` attention.

At the present moment the disease is incurable, however, the existing methods of conservative and surgical treatment allow to improve significantly the life qualities of the sick. The conservative treatment involves, mainly, the preparation that reduces the disease symptoms, but does not eliminates its causes (nevertheless at the present time the medicine cannot indicate the causes of the Parkinson`s disease emergence). With the addiction to the medicine and the disease progression, the medicine dose is increased up to the onset of side effects, the action of which is related to the action of the underlying disease.

Although the Parkinson’s disease is incurable, doctors are able to influence positively its course and to improve quality of life for many years. For this, it is important to determine the presence of the disease at initial stages, but, unfortunately, reliable methods of early diagnosis are not always available.

Surgical methods, despite its variety, also give a temporary (for several years) weakening of the disease symptoms and are not free from side effects.

Special interest is provoked by the emergence of new medicines and techniques. So, it seemed that the substance (human embryonic tissue) will become the basis of the effective treatment of the Parkinson`s disease. Though, the effect of neurotransplantation of embryo tissues is made by Dr. Freed (Freed, 1988).

Now sick patients and their relatives are waiting for a miracle from the stem cells that are considered to be the unique source of the replacement tissue therapy. Jun Takahashi of Kyoto University in Japan implanted these cells into the apes, in which the Parkinson`s disease was artificially caused, and monitored the transition of motionless individuals into freely walking. According to the scientist, other 5-6 years will pass before this experiment goes on people.

As for physical therapy, the main purpose of Parkinson’s disease is the relaxation of the muscles and joints and reducing of muscle atrophy caused by impaired mobility. Prolonged immobility causes loss of muscle tissue and stiffness of the joints. A similar phenomenon happens with fractures and long-term fixations by bus or kick. If the joint has long been fixed, there appears stiffness and eventually the joint loses its mobility. Therefore, for the normal functioning of joints and muscles constant mobility is needed. Physiotherapist with specially selected exercises tends to stretch the shortened muscles and increase joint mobility. These exercises strengthen the weakened muscles and increase the overall tone. By the exercises physicians are able to improve patient coordination, posture lying, sitting and standing, moreover, to increase the pace of walking. Additional physiotherapy improves breathing, strengthening of the voice and making it more distinct.

Physical therapy can be carried out both individually and in groups, which is often highly desirable, as it allows one to communicate with other patients, share ideas and tips.

At the 22nd meeting of the European Neurological Society (ENS), which was held in Prague (Czech Republic), German researchers reported the results of a recent study, that the reduction of smell (hyposphresia) could be an early marker of PD. Scientists have shown that 1 out of 10 people with hyposphresia can within time have PD. Therefore, it is important to attract as many people as possible to such research.

Scientists chose the unusual method for the researches. They conducted mass olfactory tests on a day off in the pedestrian district of Cologne. 187 individuals participated in this research. They were proposed to identify the smell of the lemon, cloves, vanilla and lavender. The smell loss was observed among 46 testes. Further they were examined by neuropathologists, ENT specialists, considering the fact, that hyposmia can be the symptom of a large amount of the diseases. The PD was diagnosed in three participants who had not noticed the symptoms of the pathology.

Scientists recommend the doctors to use the olfactory tests in order to diagnose the PD, and the pathology of ENT organs. That will allow to identify the disease in time and to prevent its transformation into chronic.

What should do patients with Parkinson’s disease now, especially those who became ill recently?

1. Not to panic. To take the disease as what happened, that should be accepted.

2. To choose the best, to your opinion, doctor and strictly implement all his recommendations, carefully monitoring the state of health.

3. Organize the relationships and work with others to feel confident and independent.

4. Find the scope of the abilities. For instance, a new job will be more suitable for the new state of your physical activity.

5. Learn to accept some dependence on other people with dignity.

6. Dedicate your close people to the illness.

7. Learn how to safely reject inappropriate curiosity of others to your motor disorders and hostile attitude towards you.

8. More contact with similar patients, but with great experience, who successfully cope with such difficulties.

9. Support and guide the desperate patients with Parkinson`s disease.

10. Try to go without the help of others, overcome difficulties without assistance.

Among the people who had the PD there are such famous people: Muhammad Ali, Salvador Dali, Pope John Paul II, the head of East Germany Erich Honecker, Adolf Hitler, the Great Helmsman Mao Zedong, Yasser Arafat.

Conclusion

Parkinson disease was discovered by London doctor James Parkinson, who wrote his famous “Essay on the Shaking Palsy” where he described this illness. PD is a disease of CNS which causes the loss of control of movement and as a result the disorders of motion activity. Among the chronic progressive CNS diseases, PD is the second after Alzheimer’s disease. It affects people aged 50-60 years, but it gets “younger” within each year, so the attention of scientists is drawn to its treatment. Nowadays this disease is incurable, but at the early stages the doctors can positively affect its clinical course. Thus it is not easy to diagnose this illness at the early stages, the group of scientists conducted an experiment in which they examined smelling abilities of a group of respondents and came to the conclusion that hyposmia can be an early symptom of PD.

As for treatment, Parkinson’s disease can be treated in two ways: surgical and physical. Surgical method implies the neurotransplantation of embrio tissues and stem cells, and physical method means exercises which can reduce the stiffness of joints and increase of muscle tissue.

The closest people of patient who has PD should be very careful with him or her and first of all, let them know that an inevitable dependence does not cause discomfort to anybody.

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