Parkinson’s disease mainly affects dopaminergic neurons in a specific area of someone’s brain. Symptoms develop gradually over the years, with the most recognizable ones being tremors, rigidity, slowness of movements (bradykinesia), and balance difficulties.
Along with these motor symptoms, patients can also experience non-motor symptoms like sleep disorders, cognitive changes, and mood disorders. For that, Evoke Neuroscience focuses on the question that’s on every affected person and their loved one’s mind: Can Parkinson’s disease be actually treated or cured?
Current Scenario: Can Parkinson’s Disease be Cured?
As of today, the unfortunate reality is that a definitive cure for Parkinson’s disease does not exist. The disease, for now, is chronic and progressive. This means that it continues over a long duration and its symptoms worsen over time. However, this does not mean that there’s only doom and gloom for those diagnosed with the condition.
One point that needs emphasizing here is that there is a huge difference between there being no absolute cure and no treatment available. Parkinson’s has numerous effective treatment options that can positively impact the quality of life, as well as slow down the progression of symptoms in many patients.
Controlling and Managing Symptoms: Medication
The purpose of medication for Parkinson’s is to increase the level of dopamine. This refers to a neurotransmitter that’s in lower-than-normal levels in Parkinson’s patients – or to improve the effectiveness of existing dopamine.
Levodopa – This is the most common treatment for Parkinson’s. Levodopa (L-Dopa) is converted into dopamine in the brain, helping bridge the dopamine gap in Parkinson’s patients.
Dopamine agonists – These are less effective than L-Dopa, but they mimic dopamine’s role in the brain, leading to similar effects.
MAO-B inhibitors – This type of medicine slows the breakdown of natural dopamine and dopamine derived from L-Dopa.
Controlling and Managing Symptoms: Surgery
In cases where medication proves ineffective, surgical options can be explored. Deep Brain Stimulation (DBS) has shown useful results in controlling unpredictable motor symptoms. DBS mainly involves putting a device in the brain that sends electrical signals to certain areas used for body movement.
Physical Therapy and Lifestyle Changes
Physical therapy can help patients have better mobility and flexibility. It often includes exercises to enhance muscle strength, balance, and coordination. Therapies involving speech and swallowing can also be beneficial. These are crucial as they significantly improve the individual’s day-to-day life and overall well-being.
Other than that, you should also add to these lifestyle changes like a balanced diet, regular exercise, and good sleep. Incorporating these practices for Parkinson’s treatment should be done regularly, and they can go a long way to help manage symptoms alongside medication.
The Future: Hope For A Parkinson’s Cure
For Evoke Neuroscience, while it’s true that the present may be devoid of a definitive Parkinson’s cure, that doesn’t mean a cure is forever out of our reach. Tremendous progress has been made in understanding Parkinson’s over the last century.
From the discovery of the absence of dopamine being a core reason to most currently being able to map alpha-synuclein’s exact structure, researchers are continually evolving knowledge to find an effective cure for Parkinson’s Disease.