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The approach to Parkinson’s in our Movement Disorders Unit

Posted by Xanit Internacional Xanit Internacional | Posted in Xanit salud | Posted on 15-04-2013

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Nowadays, we have the ability to greatly improve the quality of life of patients with Parkinson’s disease (PD) by reducing the intensity of their symptoms.  Nonetheless, when someone is diagnosed with Parkinson’s, both they and their loved ones typically have a lot of questions about what the disease entails. Parkinson’s is a degenerative disorder of the central nervous system that affects more than one hundred and fifty thousand people in Spain alone.

In honor of  World Parkinson’s Day, we wanted to debunk some of the myths that surround the disease and answer some of the questions that come up most frequently during appointments:

  • Did you know that Parkinson’s is caused by multiple factors? There are certain susceptible genes that, in association with external factors, start the process of general neuronal degradation and, specifically, contribute to the degradation of the dopaminergic neurons.
  • Did you know that tremor is not the only symptom of Parkinson’s? Although it is one of the most recognizable signs, PD is a disorder that affects the whole body and can manifest itself in other ways.  For example, it can cause motor fluctuations—altering the speed and precision of motor skills—postural instability, tremor or other neuropsychiatric disturbances.  If not treated properly, all of these can increase in prevalence and/or intensity as the disease progresses.  Eventually, PD can affect other neurons and thus result in symptoms in other parts of the body, e.g. cognitive dysfunction, gastric dysmotility, constipation, urinary incontinence, or behavior and mood alterations.
  • Did you know that Parkinson’s doesn’t only affect older people?  Although the disease is more common in the elderly, 5% of the people who have PD are under the age of 40.
  • Did you know that research has revealed new ways to reduce the intensity of PD symptoms?  In addition to drug therapy, surgery has also proven useful to help treat motor symptoms.  Deep brain stimulationinvolves the implantation in the brain of a medical device called a brain pacemaker.  Other procedures that can alleviate PD symptoms are cell transplant therapy for “neural repair” of brain structures, or the use of vaccines to eliminate the abnormal accumulation of proteins.  In the case of genetic forms of the disease, gene therapy can also be useful.
  • Did you know that there are multiple techniques to fight against Parkinson’s?  Physical therapy, occupational therapy, music therapy, and biofeedback can all contribute greatly to the treatment of PD.

Here at Xanit International Hospital, we have a Movement Disorders Unit to provide ongoing, personalized care to patients and their families via the most up-to-date techniques available.

Our staff knows how important it is to take a comprehensive, integrated approach to patient care.  We think that it is essential that each person’s diverse needs be evaluated by all the relevant experts.  As a result, our team in the Neuroscience Department is supported by a multidisciplinary team of psychologists, speech therapists, and psychiatrists, in order to ensure that all the needs of every patient are covered.

Dr. Víctor Campos

Director of the Neuroscience Department at Xanit International Hospital