Parkinson’s Disease

Parkinson’s disease is a chronic and progressive movement disorder that affects approximately one million people in the United States. The disease is characterized by a loss of neurons in the substantia nigra, the area of the brain where dopamine is produced. Dopamine production and synthesis is necessary for coordination and movement. As Parkinson’s progresses, dopamine production steadily decreases, resulting in slowed movement (bradykinesia), tremor, rigidity, impaired posture and balance, and speech and writing problems. There is no present cure for Parkinson’s disease and management consists of controlling the motor symptoms primarily through administration of levodopa therapies. While this improves the control of Parkinson’s motor symptoms, the disease progresses and the beneficial effects of levodopa begin to wear off, symptoms worsen and patients experience end-of-dose motor fluctuations.

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