Parkinson’s Disease is a chronic, progressive disorder of the brain belonging to a category of conditions called “motor system disorders.” In this disease, nerve cells of the brain that make the chemical known as dopamine die or become impaired. Dopamine is responsible for transmitting signals from one area of the brain to the next to produce steady, purposeful muscle activity. With a decrease in dopamine production, neurons fire out of control, and a person experiences decreased ability to direct or to control movement. In some people with Parkinson’s, other chemical transmitters, such as norepinephrine, which is involved in controlling the autonomic (involuntary) nervous system, may also be deficient.
Primary symptoms of Parkinson Disease include: tremors, muscle rigidity, slowness of movement, impairment of balance. Secondary symptoms are: fatigue, sleep pattern disturbances, changes in mood & memory, changes in speech & swallowing, and changes in bowel and bladder function.
American Parkinson Disease Association – Information & Referral Center (Boston)
Boston University School of Medicine
72 East Concord Street, C3
Boston, MA 02118
Phone: 617-638-8466 or 800-651-8466
The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research
Grand Central Station
P.O. Box 4777
New York, NY 10163-4777.
Fact Sheet last updated on: 4/12/2018