With clear, up-to-date information about Parkinson’s Disease? The more you understand and learn, the better the decisions you can make.
Existing therapies for PD treat the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease. They do not appear to halt the progression of PD, nor change the eventual course of the disease. Clinical studies aim to change this situation for people receiving a diagnosis of PD.
This website describes how people with PD can participate in the search for better medical treatments.
Scroll down for our Questions & Answers about PD. They have been reviewed and written in collaboration with a doctor specialized in PD. If you need individual medical advice, please contact your treating doctor.
We seek to support you as you learn more about clinical studies. In this section we provide up-to-date Questions & Answers about PD written in collaboration with a doctor.
Parkinson’s Disease is a progressive disease of the nervous system. It is diagnosed according to its impact on movement.
Symptoms of PD include involuntary shaking movements called tremor. The tremor might first develop in your hand, arm, leg or jaw. And often, on one side only. PD impacts movement, including automatic movements like blinking, smiling or swinging of your arms as you walk.
It is now known that PD has additional symptoms that are unrelated to movement. These symptoms can include sleep disturbance, constipation, as well as changes to mood and cognition.
Understanding the impact of these symptoms is important. The symptoms of PD can affect daily life in different ways, including the relationship between you and others.
A better understanding of PD can enable you to communicate better with those closest to you. People with PD confront a progressive slowing down of movement called bradykinesia. Most of the movement, or motor symptoms of PD are explained by a loss of a specific type of nerve cells. The cells are in a region of the midbrain called the substantia nigra. Nerve cells of the substantia nigra produce an important chemical called dopamine. The loss of these cells reduces the brain’s dopamine resources. This can cause motor symptoms.
The main treatment for PD is called dopaminergic therapy. The therapy can in many cases offer an effective treatment to reduce tremor symptoms and bradykinesia.
Dopaminergic therapy has not been shown to stop the progression of PD. And the treatment may produce its own side effects. Furthermore, dopaminergic therapy does not address the non-motor symptoms of PD.
Bradykinesia refers to a slowing down of movement. The medical definition of bradykinesia includes voluntary movement actions, as well as automatic movements such as blinking or swinging your arms when you walk.
Other non-motor symptoms may develop at later stages of PD when the disease has progressed further.
Changes to mood and cognition impact the lives of people with PD, as well as the lives of those who take care of them.
People with PD are providing doctors with more and more insights about the early symptoms of PD. These symptoms include a disruption to normal sleep patterns, and to the sense of smell.
The PASADENA study will gain insights about these symptoms. The study uses smartphones and wrist-worn wearable devices to accurately, and conveniently, track the symptoms of PD.
These insights are being used to guide and advance the development of our investigational treatment.
A tiny protein called alpha-synuclein has an important role in the damage to the nervous system associated with PD. In PD, alpha-synuclein aggregates, or clumps together, inside nerve cells found in the regions of the brain impacted by PD.
Aggregated alpha-synuclein can spread from nerve cell to nerve cell like a toxic agent. When taken up in this way, these aggregates induce the formation of increasingly more alpha-synuclein aggregates in nerve cells throughout the brain.
The abnormal aggregation of alpha-synuclein in nerve cells is critical to our understanding of PD. Doctors now use the term synucleinopathy, i.e. an age-related medical condition relating to alpha-synuclein clumping, to frame our understanding of PD.
The alpha-synuclein protein is found abundantly in the brain. In PD, this protein can change shape and form clumps, or aggregates. These aggregates can be toxic to nerve cells, transfer from one nerve cell to another, and form larger deposits in nerve cells, called Lewy bodies. This leads to the loss of certain nerve cells, resulting in PD.