What is the cause of Parkinson's disease? How is it treated?
The cause of Parkinson's disease is not known, but it may result from a genetic defect or due to certain toxins. It is generally treated with medications and in severe cases even with brain surgery.
Parkinson's disease is a neurological disorder, the cause of which is obscure. Sometimes, it may result from a genetic defect or due to certain toxins. The symptoms occur because of the lack of a neurotransmitter called dopamine in the basal ganglia. The cardinal features of Parkinsonism are tremors, slow movements, stiffness, and difficulty in balancing, however, all of these may not be present at the time of the diagnosis.
The majority of the treatments for Parkinson's disease target to replenish the dopamine levels in the brain. Medications containing carbidopa combined with levodopa or dopamine agonists commonly relieve the symptoms. In some conditions, medications that block the neurotransmitter acetylcholine are prescribed. Brain surgery is considered in patients with persistent severe symptoms, despite being on regular medications, or those with adverse reactions to medications.
A common surgical procedure involves the insertion of a wire into one of the two areas of the brain called the subthalamus or globus pallidus internus. Usually, this wire is connected to a pacemaker-like device that generates electrical energy, which in turn affects the brain activity in the region. When the pacemaker-like device is turned on, symptoms decrease in severity.