Parkinson's disease is a neurological disorder that affects a patient's ability to produce and control body movement. It is chronic (persisting over a long period of time) and progressive (getting worse over time). Usually affecting older adults, Parkinson's leads to severe disability for some people, but others may suffer only minor motor disorders.
In Parkinson's disease, a loss of neurons in the brain results in a reduction of the amount of dopamine, a chemical messenger that helps control muscle movement. Without dopamine, nerve cells cannot properly send messages.
Parkinsonism refers to any condition that involves the types of movement changes seen in Parkinson's disease, such as tremors, slow movement, impaired speech, decrease in facial expressions, and muscle stiffness.
These movements are caused by changes in or destruction of nerve cells that produce the chemical dopamine in a certain area of the brain.
Not all patients who have Parkinsonism have Parkinson's disease. Parkinsonian disorders may be caused by other conditions like:
Parkinson's symptoms manifest differently in patients. Many patients experience some symptoms and not others, and the pace at which the disease progresses varies on an individual basis. Early symptoms of may be mild and go unnoticed.
Parkinson's signs and symptoms may include
There is no known cure for Parkinson's disease. The goal of treatment is to control symptoms.
Once a diagnosis is made, the medical team employs the most advanced treatment options available, including deep brain stimulation for surgery to treat essential tremor, Parkinson's disease and dystonia. Therapeutic goals are symptom-driven and focused on maintaining patients at the highest level of function possible. Medical regimens are tailored to patient age, prominent symptoms and the potential side effects profile.
Patients are advised to work closely with a physician to develop the best medical treatment program including medications which control symptoms mostly by increasing the levels of dopamine in the brain. Never change or stop taking any medication without talking with your physician.
Through collaboration between the Mischer Neuroscience Institute at Memorial Hermann and the UT MOVE Clinic at The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth) , the Movement Disorders and Neurodegenerative Diseases Program has established a track record of outstanding care and excellent outcomes.
The medical staff uses state-of-the-art techniques in the diagnosis, evaluation, management and treatment of adult and geriatric patients.
The physician team is also at the forefront of research, currently focusing on disease pathogenesis and neuromodulation with the ultimate goal of identifying new medical and surgical interventions.
The movement disorders team at Memorial Hermann performs the following therapeutic interventions:
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