World Parkinson’s Day 2024

Aishwarya Pillai

, News

April 11th marks World Parkinson’s Day – a global call to action to raise awareness and accelerate research towards better treatments and an ultimate cure for Parkinson’s disease (PD). It’s a day for the international Parkinson’s community to unite and envision a future where this debilitating disorder is relegated to the past.


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Parkinson’s is a progressive neurodegenerative condition characterized by involuntary movements like tremors, rigidity, and impaired balance and coordination. In the early stages, the subtle symptoms can go unnoticed, but as the disease progresses, changes in mobility and posture become increasingly apparent. Beyond the motor issues, Parkinson’s can also bring about non-movement symptoms like depression, anxiety, fatigue, and sleep disturbances. At its core, PD results from a decrease in dopamine levels in the brain due to a complex interplay of environmental and genetic factors.


The Progression of Parkinson’s Disease


As we observe World Parkinson’s Day 2024, it’s crucial to understand the stages that define this condition’s inexorable march:


Stage I: The disease takes root with mild, one-sided symptoms like tremors, walking difficulties, postural instability, and subtle facial masking that often go unnoticed.


Stage II: Symptoms worsen and affect both sides of the body, making daily tasks increasingly challenging, though the person can still live independently.


Stage III: The mid-stage, characterized by impaired balance and frequent falls. While independence is compromised, the individual can still perform some daily activities unaided.


Stage IV: Motor symptoms are severe at this stage, and standing or walking independently becomes extremely difficult. Around-the-clock assistance is required for most activities of daily living.


Stage V: The most advanced stage, where rigidity in the legs can render the person bedridden or confined to a wheelchair. Medications may stop being effective, necessitating more advanced interventions and full-time care.

Battling the Late Stages


While medication can help manage symptoms early on, more aggressive treatment is required as Parkinson’s progresses:


  • Medications: Powerful drugs like levodopa, dopamine agonists, and MAO-B inhibitors are prescribed to increase dopamine levels or mimic its effects.
  • Deep Brain Stimulation (DBS): When medications lose effectiveness, this surgical procedure involves implanting an electrode in specific brain regions to deliver electrical impulses that can help regulate movement.
  • Advanced Therapies: For end-stage patients, options like MRI-guided focused ultrasound offer a less invasive way to alleviate treatment-resistant symptoms like tremors by applying high-intensity ultrasound waves to selectively destroy the problematic brain regions.


As we mark World Parkinson’s Day, the global community rallies together, fueled by hope for better therapies and an ultimate cure so that future generations never have to experience the relentless onslaught of this merciless disease.


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