Parkinson's disease

Parkinson's disease (PD) belongs to a group of conditions called motor system disorders, which are the result of the loss of dopamine-producing brain cells. The four primary symptoms of PD are tremor, or trembling in hands, arms, legs, jaw, and face; rigidity, or stiffness of the limbs and trunk; bradykinesia, or slowness of movement; and postural instability, or impaired balance and coordination. As these symptoms become more pronounced, patients may have difficulty walking, talking, or completing other simple tasks. PD usually affects people over the age of 50. Early symptoms of PD are subtle and occur gradually. In some people the disease progresses more quickly than in others. As the disease progresses, the shaking, or tremor, which affects the majority of PD patients may begin to interfere with daily activities. Other symptoms may include depression and other emotional changes; difficulty in swallowing, chewing, and speaking; urinary problems or constipation; skin problems; and sleep disruptions. The diagnosis is based on medical history and a neurological examination.

People related to the topic: Parkinson's disease

Ariel Deutch, Ph.D.
James G. Blakemore Chair and Professor of Psychiatry; Professor of Pharmacology; Director, National Parkinson Foundation Center of Excellence; Neurochemistry Faculty Service Coordinator, IDDRC Neuroscience Core D

Christine Konradi, Ph.D.
Professor of Pharmacology and Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences

Back to the topic index