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  • Writer's pictureJugoslav Erceg

Parkinson's disease: early detection, diagnostics and therapy - what you should know

Parkinson's disease is a neurological disorder caused by the progressive loss of nerve cells in the brain. The disease is characterized by characteristic symptoms, including:

  1. Tremor: A tremor in a hand, arm, or leg is one of the most well-known symptoms of Parkinson's. The tremor often starts on one side, later in the course of the disease both sides of the body are usually affected. This tremor often occurs at rest and may disappear with movement.

  2. Stiffness: Parkinson's patients often suffer from muscle stiffness (rigor), which can make it difficult to perform simple movements.

  3. Slowness of movement: Parkinson's disease can affect the ability to perform movements quickly and fluidly (akinesia or hypokinesia). This can make simple tasks like putting on clothes or walking more difficult. The gait is described as small steps.

  4. Postural instability: Parkinson's disease can cause patients to have difficulty maintaining their balance and may fall (postural instability).

  5. Loss of smell: Many people with Parkinson's find that they experience a loss of their sense of smell.

A man with a Parkinson's tremor holds a glass of water in his right hand and trembles and spills the contents of the glass.
tremors in everyday life

There are also signs and early symptoms that may indicate impending Parkinson's disease, such as increasingly slow mobility, changes in the sense of smell or sleep disorders in combination with nocturnal hypermobility.

The cause of Parkinson's involves the loss of nerve cells in the brain - in the so-called substantia nigra - that produce dopamine, leading to a disruption in signal transmission in the brain.

Both genetic and environmental factors are believed to play a role in the development of Parkinson's.

The diagnosis of Parkinson's is primarily based on a physical examination and an assessment of symptoms.

In addition, radiological imaging is carried out using MRI of the brain, but above all to rule out other causes.

PET and SPECT examinations are also an important part of the diagnosis of Parkinson's disease. These procedures can detect changes in the brain at an early stage, which can contribute to a more accurate diagnosis and a more effective treatment plan. A weakly radioactive substance is injected into the bloodstream, which accumulates in the brain and is then made visible using special cameras. For example, the distribution and activity of neurotransmitters such as dopamine and serotonin in the brain can be examined. PET and SPECT examinations are therefore valuable tools in the diagnosis and therapy of Parkinson's disease.

However, there are also new developments in the diagnosis of Parkinson's disease, such as CSF diagnostics with biomarkers, which could enable earlier diagnosis. This research option is currently being researched and is not yet available.

Treatment of Parkinson's disease aims to alleviate the symptoms and slow down the progression of the disease. These include drugs that increase the supply of dopamine in the brain and physical therapy. In more severe cases, surgery to implant a brain pacemaker can also be considered.

General measures that can help people with Parkinson's disease include exercise, especially tai chi and yoga, a healthy diet, and getting enough sleep. It's also important to maintain a positive attitude and seek support from family and friends.

Overall, Parkinson's disease is a complex disease that requires a lot of understanding and support. An early diagnosis and one tailored to the individual case

Coordinated therapy can help those affected to continue to lead a fulfilling life.

We hope this article has given you a better understanding of the disease and treatment options. Ultimately, however, it remains important that those affected and their families turn to experienced specialists in order to receive the best possible care.

Your neurology practice,


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