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Parkinson's and therapeutic interventions to treat it

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I need some ideas to help me prepare a paper comparing and contrasting three therapeutic interventions used to treat Parkinsons. Compare measures of effectiveness, such as validity, efficacy, symptom and behavior management, and recidivism. One therapy should be cognitive in nature, one should be pharmacological in nature, and the third should be an alternative therapeutic treatment.

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Solution Summary

A brief layout of Parkinson's disease and current / possible future interventions for treating the disease, with links to journal articles that may be useful.

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Let's first examine what Parkinson's actually is. It's a disorder where certain neuron populations, particularly dopaminergic (releases dopamine - DA) neurons in the substantia nigra (SN), deteriorate for reasons yet to be solidly identified. Some researchers believe the cause of the degradation is genetic, and there's a good observation that supports this: as we age, we all get Parkinsonian symptoms as a result of slow and gradual degradation in the SN. Others believe that early exposure to toxins are to blame, such as to lead while as a fetus or early infant. These SN neurons are vital to the modulation of fine motor co-ordination and movement in general, hence without them, patients often have motor deficits. In particular, typically patients find it very hard to control their movements and are often "shaky" or "jerky".

Perhaps the most common treatment given is pharmacological: the administration of L-DOPA, the precursor to dopamine. L-DOPA can cross the blood brain barrier, where it is then converted into dopamine, and elicits its effects in order to allow patients a period of time during which their motor movements are close to normal. As the dopamine is degraded however, symptoms will return. In patients who have been recently diagnosed with Parkinson's the efficacy of L-DOPA is quite high: the symptoms go ...

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