Aetiology of Parkinson’s remains a mystery

Parkinson’s disease (PD) is a progressive neurodegenerative disorder classified as a movement disorder with both motor and non-motor features. The incidence in the general population is 1-2:1000 and 1:100 in the over 80s. The exact cause is uncertain, but it’s widely accepted that a multifactorial interplay between genetic predispositions and environmental influences contribute to the degeneration of dopamine-producing neurons within the brain. Signs and symptoms of PD vary widely and include both motor and non-motor symptoms. Patients may experience a reduction in lifespan and the rate of disease progression is variable. Treatment is complex due to the broad spectrum of symptoms and requires an individualized therapeutic approach. Pharmaceutical therapy is the mainstay of treatment and new therapies include advanced drug delivery methods, and deep brain stimulation methods. Advances in genetics and biomarker research are paving the way for future personalized treatment. Lifestyle modifications and supportive therapies play an important role in managing PD symptoms, and psychosocial interventions, support groups and counselling are crucial for managing non-motor symptoms. Advances in the field are providing hope for better future outcomes for PD patients.

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