Parkinson’s disease is a neurodegenerative disease characterized by a progressive loss of muscle control leading to bradykinesia (slow movement), rigidity, resting tremor and postural instability. As symptoms worsen, it may be difficult to walk, talk, and perform simple tasks. Non-motor symptoms can include; anxiety, depression, psychosis, and dementia.
Dopamine is a chemical that acts as a messenger between brain cells. It plays a role in how we move, what we eat, and how we learn. The substantia nigra, a tiny strip of tissue on both sides of the base of your brain produces dopamine. When the brain cells in the substantia nigra start to die, dopamine levels drop. When the level of dopamine gets to low, you will begin to experience symptoms of Parkinson’s disease.
If you or a loved one has recently been diagnosed, here are 11 facts you need to know:
11 Facts About Parkinson’s Disease
- Parkinson’s disease is named after Dr. James Parkinson, the British surgeon that first identified the disease in the year 1817
- The cause of the disease is still unknown
- The symptoms are a result of a loss of the brain cells that produce dopamine, a chemical messenger produced in the part of the brain called the substantia nigra. Dopamine helps the brain coordinate movement and as the cells die, less dopamine is produced. When ~80% of the dopamine is lost, symptoms begin to develop
- It is estimated that 7- 10 million people worldwide suffer from Parkinson’s disease and 60,000 Americans are diagnosed with the disease every year.
- Men are twice as likely as women to be diagnosed with the condition
- The risk of developing Parkinson’s disease increases with age; symptoms usually occur after the age of 50.
- Parkinson’s is not just an “old person’s disease” and approximately 1 in 20 people are diagnosed under the age of 40
- Diagnosing Parkinson’s disease is not simple. There is no specific test for diagnosis so after ruling out other causes such as medication, physicians use the following guide called TRAP:
- Tremor or shaking at rest, involving the thumb, entire hand, arm, chin, lips, and feet
- Rigidity felt by the doctor when rotating a patient’s wrist or elbow
- Akinesia or bradykinesia (lack of movement or slowness of movement) when walking or swinging an arm
- Postural instability, making it necessary to hold onto something to maintain balance when walking or rising from a chair
- Stress, depression and anxiety can all increase the symptoms
- There is no cure for Parkinson’s disease and current medications are expensive.
- Stem cell transplantation at sites of neuronal degeneration is a promising approach for the treatment of different neurological diseases such as Parkinson`s Disease.
Researchers and experts in stem cell replacement at clinics such as the Stem Cells Transplant Institute in Costa Rica, have shown mesenchymal stem cells have the ability to repair and regenerate neurons in the brain, reduce levels of free radicals, improve synaptic connection from damaged neurons and regulate inflammation. It is not clear how mesenchymal stem cells perform these functions, but one theory is: injected stem cells are drawn to the injured area where they release trophic factors (molecules that support cell survival) that aid in repairing damaged cells. The trophic factors can suppress the local immune system, form new blood vessels, reduce levels of free radicals, stop the damage occurring to tissue, and increase the recruitment, retention, proliferations and differentiation of stem cells.
The professionals at the Stem Cells Transplant Institute use adult, autologous, mesenchymal stem cells for the treatment of neurodegenerative diseases such as Parkinson’s disease. We believe in the power of stem cell therapy and are committed to providing personalized service and the highest quality of care to every patient. Contact the Stem Cells Transplant Institute to learn more about stem cell replacement therapy.
The daily non-stop flights from Newark airport to San Jose, Costa Rica make it easy for patients from New York and New Jersey including those from, Manhattan, Hoboken, Morristown, Parsippany and Brooklyn to access high quality care at the Stem Cells Transplant Institute.