Parkinson's disease can affect more than just the body

December 12, 2008

Parkinson’s disease affects 6.3 million people worldwide. While the disease is recognized for its profound effects on movement, up to 40 percent of Parkinson’s disease patients also develop changes in thought, behavior and judgment.

As Parkinson’s disease progresses, patients may experience what is called ‘Parkinson’s Psychosis,’ in which they experience changes in thought, behavior and judgment. In more advanced stages these symptoms include hallucinations where patients see, hear or feel things that aren’t really there, and paranoid delusions where they become distrustful of even their closest friends and family members. The emergence of these symptoms represents a major turning point in the course of the patient’s disease.

“While the physical manifestations of Parkinson’s disease are difficult to deal with, the changes in thought, behavior and judgment strain the bonds between patients and their caregivers and families,” said Dr. Bernard Ravina, Director of the Movement and Inherited Neurological Disorders Unit at the University of Rochester in New York.

According to an on-line survey recently conducted by MediciGlobal, a global patient recruitment and retention specialty firm, over one-third of Parkinson’s caregivers are unaware that changes in thought, behavior, and judgment can accompany the disease. “As a registered nurse, I was prepared for the physical problems with my husband’s Parkinson’s disease but, despite my job as a RN, I was totally unprepared for the psychiatric issues,” said Carol McLain, a caregiver who took the survey.

According to Dr. Ravina, “It’s the non-physical symptoms of the disease that are often most devastating for both the patient and caregiver. As the patient’s mental health deteriorates, the family often has to make the painful and expensive decision of moving the patient into a nursing home.”

There are currently no FDA-approved treatments for these particular non-physical symptoms of Parkinson’s disease. Nevertheless, doctors often resort to the use of potent antipsychotic drugs to treat these symptoms even though these drugs sometimes have serious side effects, particularly in the elderly, including worsening of motor skills, excessive sleepiness, increased infections, stroke, and sudden death in some patients. As a result, there is a large unmet medical need for new and improved treatment options.

Source: MediciGlobal

Explore further: Good cells gone bad: Scientists discover PINK-SNO

Related Stories

Good cells gone bad: Scientists discover PINK-SNO

November 21, 2017
A new study from The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI) is the first to show precisely how a process in nerve cells called the S-nitrosylation (SNO) reaction—which can be caused by aging, pesticides and pollution—may contribute ...

FDA to crack down on risky stem cell offerings

November 16, 2017
U.S. health authorities announced plans Thursday to crack down on doctors pushing stem cell procedures that pose the gravest risks to patients amid an effort to police a burgeoning medical field that previously has received ...

Diagnosing Alzheimer's with diamonds and PET scans

November 16, 2017
Deep within our brains is a dense forest of 100 billion nerve cells. Each of those cells has about 15,000 dendrites that branch out to connect with dendrites from other nerve cells, generating more than 100 trillion points ...

New possibility to prevent and treat Parkinson's disease with licorice extract

November 9, 2017
DGIST's research team, led by Dr. Yun-Il Lee in Well Aging Research Center, has identified a new mechanism to inhibit dopaminergic neuronal apoptosis, a possible approach for preventing and treating Parkinson's disease (PD).

New treatment direction sought in Parkinson's by blocking the blocker of a natural protection

November 6, 2017
Oxidative stress plays a big role in the brain cell loss that occurs in Parkinson's disease. Now scientists have their sights on a protein that inhibits one of the body's natural protections against it.

Parkinson's disease: A looming pandemic

November 13, 2017
New research shows that the number of people with Parkinson's disease will soon grow to pandemic proportions. In a commentary appearing today in the journal JAMA Neurology, University of Rochester Medical Center neurologist ...

Recommended for you

Gastric acid suppressant lansoprazole may target tuberculosis

November 21, 2017
A cheap and widely used drug, used to treat conditions such as heartburn, gastritis and ulcers, could work against the bacteria that cause tuberculosis (TB), according to new research from UCL and the London School of Hygiene ...

Improving prediction accuracy of Crohn's disease based on repeated fecal sampling

November 21, 2017
Researchers at the University of California San Diego Center for Microbiome Innovation (CMI) have found that sampling the gut microbiome over time can provide insights that are not available with a single time point. The ...

Anti-malaria drug shows promise as Zika virus treatment

November 17, 2017
A new collaborative study led by researchers at Sanford Burnham Prebys Medical Discovery Institute (SBP) and UC San Diego School of Medicine has found that a medication used to prevent and treat malaria may also be effective ...

Decrease in sunshine, increase in Rickets

November 17, 2017
A University of Toronto student and professor have teamed up to discover that Britain's increasing cloudiness during the summer could be an important reason for the mysterious increase in Rickets among British children over ...

Scientists identify biomarkers that indicate likelihood of survival in infected patients

November 17, 2017
Scientists have identified a set of biomarkers that indicate which patients infected with the Ebola virus are most at risk of dying from the disease.

Research team unlocks secrets of Ebola

November 16, 2017
In a comprehensive and complex molecular study of blood samples from Ebola patients in Sierra Leone, published today (Nov. 16, 2017) in Cell Host and Microbe, a scientific team led by the University of Wisconsin-Madison has ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.