Welcome to 2 minute neuroscience, where I
explain neuroscience topics in 2 minutes or less. In this installment I will discuss Parkinson’s
disease. Parkinson’s disease is considered a neurodegenerative
disease because it involves the degeneration and death of neurons. It is most frequently seen in adults over
the age of 50. The most recognizable symptoms of Parkinson’s
initially are movement-related and generally involve a tremor that is worse when a person
is at rest, bradykinesia, which is slowness of movement, rigidity, and postural impairment. Parkinson’s patients also often experience
non-motor symptoms like cognitive impairment or psychiatric symptoms. The causes of Parkinson’s are not fully
understood, but a combination of genetic and environmental factors is likely involved. Parkinson’s patients have low levels of
the neurotransmitter dopamine in the basal ganglia, a group of structures involved with
movement (among other functions). These low dopamine levels in the basal ganglia
are caused by the death of dopamine neurons in a region of the basal ganglia called the
substantia nigra. The substantia nigra has high numbers of dopamine
neurons, but by the end stages of Parkinson’s patients have often lost more than half of
the dopamine neurons in this region. The most common treatment for Parkinson’s
involves an attempt to restore depleted dopamine levels in the basal ganglia. Because dopamine does not cross the blood-brain
barrier, dopamine cannot simply be administered to a patient. Instead, however, patients can be given a
precursor to dopamine called L-DOPA. L-DOPA can cross the blood-brain barrier and
is used by the brain to synthesize more dopamine. This can lead to improvement in the motor
symptoms of Parkinson’s, but L-DOPA does not halt the neurodegeneration that occurs
in parkinson’s disease, and long-term use of L-DOPA can cause a number of side effects,
including movement-related problems. So it is not a cure for the disease and other
treatments are still being explored.

5 thoughts on “2-Minute Neuroscience: Parkinson’s Disease”

  1. So basically you just proved that the pharmaceutical industry is corrupt and also the psychiatrist who prescribe dopamine who are making billions of dollars

  2. My poor grandad is in end stages of Parkinson's, it's a terrible disease and I hope in the future they can cure it 😢

  3. I PASS MY CNS MODULE AND YASS PARKINSON WAS IN MY END OF MODULE EXAM! 😂 THAT IS THE LAST MODULE BEFORE CLINICAL YEARS… 😍😍😍 FOCUSING ON PRO EXAM… 😆😆😆

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