PARKINSON'S DISEASE (PD)


Patients with parkinson's experience a lose of cells to a region of the brain called substantia nigra.  The substantia nigra produced dopamine, a chemical messenger responsible for transmitting signals within the brain that allow for coordination of movement. When dopamine levels decrease, it causes abnormal brain activity,  leaving patients less able to direct or control their movement.

Patients with Parkinson's will see a decline in physical, psychological, and neurological functions.  The disease manifests in the form of slowed movement known as bradykinesia, resulting in muscle tremors, gait problems, rigidity or stiffness, postural instability, and cognitive impairment. Since the disease is both chronic and progressive, patients gradually lose their ability to perform even the simplest of takes. Although there is no cure for Parkinson's, a number of treatments are available for the management of motor and non-motor symptoms to be used in combination with medications. 


Currently, the most popular surgical therapy available for treating Parkinson's disease is deep brain stimulation. Deep brain stimulation or DBS delivers electrical pulses to brain cells to decrease the symptoms of Parkinson's. DBS typically works best to lessen motor symptoms like stiffness, slowness, and tremors.

Targeted exercise that focuses on general mobility and dexterity may slow down the progression of the disease. Lifestyle modifications, a balanced diet, and rest may also slow down symptoms. An up-and-coming form of treatment for Parkinson's disease is Virtual Reality.

VR is fun way to practice motor skills, while also combating depression in patients. VR therapy ranges from treadmill training, balance and gait exercises, to therapy tools that provide excitement and prevent boredom. As technology progresses the training options for improving motor functions will continue to expand.

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