Health Desk: 11 April 2018: World Parkinson’s Day is celebrated to create awareness about the disease and it also marks the birthday of James Parkinson, a London physician, who first described the disease. This year World Parkinson’s Day is being celebrated all over the world on 11th April.
Parkinson’s disease (PD) is an age-related and progressive disease of the brain that causes loss of cells in the part of the brain that controls movement. It is a long-term degenerative disorder of the central nervous system that is caused due to the lack of dopamine in the brain.
For those who are not aware, dopamine is a substance that allows nerve impulses to travel smoothly from one cell to the other. When this gets reduced, the messages from the brain to the nerve cells aren’t properly transmitted, hence causing tremors, rigidity, and slowness of movement among patients.
According to Dr. Manish Gupta, executive consultant of Neurology Department, Jaypee Hospital, about 7 to 10 million people of eight billion global population are affected by the disorder.
It can also be caused by environmental toxins, believes Dr. Gupta. He says, “Despite no conclusive evidence that this is a cause, some scientists believe that an internal or external toxin affects the body’s ability to produce dopamine. One needs to be vigilant about MPTP, pesticides such as paraquat and rotenone, metal or organic toxins and manganese polonium used in welding as these can accelerate Parkinson’s disease”.
Besides, it can also be due to genetic factors, though it accounts for only 10-15 percent of the cases, says Dr. PR Krishnan, consultant neurologist, Fortis Hospital, Bangalore.