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HOME > PAST ISSUE > May-June 2008 > Article Detail

FEATURE ARTICLE

The Neglected Side of Parkinson's Disease

Shaking and slowness of movement may be the most obvious symptoms, but they are often not the most debilitating ones

Ted L. Rothstein, C. Warren Olanow

Figure 1. Boxing champion Muhammad AliClick to Enlarge ImageFor decades, biomedical researchers have understood that such classic symptoms of Parkinson's disease as shaking and slowness of movement result from the death of nerve cells that use the neurotransmitter dopamine to communicate. Treatments that boost the level of dopamine in the brain have helped millions of patients. But there are symptoms that do not respond to such therapy. The nondopaminergic features of Parkinson's disease include some of the most devastating, including a tendency to experience injurious falls and the development of dementia. Study of the nondopaminergic side of Parkinson's disease is of keen importance, and the results of such efforts may one day provide strategies for combating all aspects of this debilitating illness.


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