Parkinson’s disease

An enzyme (substance that facilitates chemical reactions) cholinergic neurons produce that breaks down acetylcholine into its two chemical components, choline and acetate. This process ends the acetylcholine cycle of activity. The faster acetylcholinesterase acts, the shorter the period of acetylcholine activity. When the activity period is too short, acetylcholine cannot function properly as a neurotransmitter […]

Acetylcholine (Parkinson’s disease)

A monoamine neurotransmitter that plays a key role in the communication between nerve cells and muscle cells, between neurons in the brain, and in the autonomic nervous system. When the brain sends out a signal, for example, to make a voluntary muscle movement, the message travels along a network of nerves until it reaches the […]

Aceruloplasminemia (Parkinson’s disease)

A rare inherited (autosomal recessive) disorder of iron metabolism, discovered in 1995, that causes Parkinson-like symptoms. A mutation of the ceruloplasmin gene on chromosome 3 prevents cells from making a protein called ceruloplasmin, which removes iron from cells. This defect allows iron to accumulate in the cells of the basal ganglia. The accumulated iron blocks […]

Accelerated aging (Parkinson’s disease)

The theory that, for reasons unknown, certain parts of the brain deteriorate more quickly than others, resulting in diseases such as Parkinson’s. With normal aging, the number of dopamine-producing cells in the substantia nigra declines at a slow rate. In a person with Parkinson’s disease, this decline takes place rapidly and far ahead of the […]

Ablation (Parkinson’s disease)

A surgical method that uses thermocoagulation (heat generated by electricity) or other means to destroy tissue. As a treatment for Parkinson’s disease, ablation typically targets cells in the globus pallidus that become overly active when dopamine production declines. Destroying these cells results in a corresponding decrease in the abnormal movements that characterize Parkinson’s disease. Modern […]

AADC inhibitor medications (Parkinson’s disease)

Drugs that block the action of aromatic amino acid decarboxylase (AADC). This prevents the conversion of Levodopa to dopamine in the bloodstream, thus avoiding side effects (for example nausea and lowering of standing blood pressure) and extending the length of time levodopa stays in the blood. This increases the amount of it that can cross […]

Adrenal medullary transplant (Parkinson’s disease)

An autograft in which surgeons remove the medulla portion of one adrenal gland and transplant it into the brain’s caudate nucleus. The procedure is also called adrenal-to-brain transplant. Adrenal medullary transplant is an effort to sidestep the blood-brain barrier by “planting” adrenal medulla cells in the caudate in the hope that they will continue to […]

Adrenal glands (Parkinson’s disease)

A pair of glands located one above each kidney in the central abdomen. They are sometimes called the suprarenal (above the kidneys) glands. The adrenal glands are part of the body’s endocrine system, a network of structures that produce hormones (chemicals secreted directly into the bloodstream). Each adrenal gland is actually two distinct structures, the […]

Adjusting to living with Parkinson's

Integrating the ongoing changes that become necessary as Parkinson’s disease progresses. Living with Parkinson’s disease is a process of continual adjustment for the person who has it as well as family members and caregivers. Many people are able to make relatively few accommodations for five to 10 years or more after diagnosis, provided that anti-parkinson’s […]

Adjunct therapies (adjunctive therapies) (Parkinson’s disease)

Treatments given in conjunction with each other to provide benefits that one treatment alone cannot deliver, to supplement the primary treatment, or to offset undesired effects of the primary treatment. Typically adjunct therapies enter into the treatment picture when Parkinson’s disease enters its middle and later stages as the effectiveness of Levodopa or dopamine agonist […]