Parkinson’s disease affects approximately one percent of people older than 65 years of age. Nearly one million people in the United States have been diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease, a chronic and progressively debilitating disorder. This motor system disorder which causes trembling in hands, arms, legs, jaw and face; stiffness of the limbs and trunk; slowness of movement; and impaired balance and coordination, is the result of the loss of dopamine-producing brain cells. While there is great hope in Parkinson’s disease research, there is no cure. A variety of medications provide relief from the symptoms, including levodopa, also known as L-dopa, that converts into dopamine as it reaches nerve cells in the brain. Levodopa therapy often results in the emergence of motor complications and eventually patients may not respond to the drug. Multiple years of L-dopatreatment can cause severe side effects and possible neurotoxicity leading to the withdrawal of use of the drug. But an answer to why Parkinson’s disease develops in some patients and a cure for it remains a mystery. “No ideal therapies are available for slowing the progression of the degeneration process and at the same time relieving symptomatic abnormalities associated with the disease,” said Aloke Dutta, Ph.D., professor of pharmaceutical sciences and medicinal chemistry in the Eugene Applebaum College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences at Wayne State University.
"Giving Hope Through Research: A Search for Novel Treatments for Parkinson's Disease, Depression and Drug Abuse,"
New Science: Vol. 17
, Article 7.
Available at: http://digitalcommons.wayne.edu/newscience/vol17/iss1/7