The Science Side

Parkinson’s disease is a neurodegenerative disorder, that arises from the loss of neurons that produce dopamine, which is an important neurotransmitter in the brain.  The result is a long-term, progressive decline in motor function, accompanied with additional non-motor symptoms.  Motor symptoms are caused by the death of neurons that normally produce dopamine in the substantia nigra, a deep structure in the brain called the basal ganglia. The basal ganglia is not one location in the brain, but instead is a “circuit” of interconnected brain regions associated with a range of functions, including voluntary movement.  The cause of death of the dopaminergic neurons is unknown, but thought to arise from the mis-folding of proteins.  Although primarily associated with motor symptoms, Parkinson’s disease also can affect various cognitive processes and induce depression and anxiety, as well as disrupt normal sleep.

There is a wealth of information available regarding Parkinson’s disease in the scientific community, including the below publicly available lectures, and published articles:

Published Articles:

DeLong MR, Wichmann T. Basal Ganglia Circuits as Targets for Neuromodulation in Parkinson Disease. JAMA Neurol. 2015 Nov;72(11):1354-60. doi: 10.1001/jamaneurol.2015.2397. PMID: 26409114.

Panicker N, Ge P, Dawson VL, Dawson TM (2021) The cell biology of Parkinson’s disease. J Cell Biol 220:e202012095

Bloem BR, Okun MS, Klein C. Parkinson’s disease. Lancet. 2021 Apr 9:S0140-6736(21)00218-X. doi: 10.1016/S0140-6736(21)00218-X. 

Tolosa E, Garrido A, Scholz SW, Poewe W (2021) Challenges in the diagnosis of Parkinson’s disease. Lancet Neurology 20:385–397.

Fabbri M, Perez-Lloret S, Rascol O (2020) Therapeutic strategies for Parkinson’s disease: promising agents in early clinical development. Expert Opin Inv Drug:1–19.

Krauss JK, Lipsman N, Aziz T, Boutet A, Brown P, Chang JW, Davidson B, Grill WM, Hariz MI, Horn A, Schulder M, Mammis A, Tass PA, Volkmann J, Lozano AM (2020) Technology of deep brain stimulation: current status and future directions. Nat Rev Neurol:1–13.

Sardi SP, Cedarbaum JM, Brundin P (2018) Targeted Therapies for Parkinson’s Disease: From Genetics to the Clinic: Targeted Therapies for PD. Movement Disord 33:684–696.

Lang AE, Espay AJ (2018) Disease modification in Parkinson’s Disease: Current approaches, challenges, and future considerations. Movement disorders : official journal of the Movement Disorder Society 386:896–18.