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Articles » NINDS Parkinson's Disease Information Page: NINDS

NINDS Parkinson's Disease Information Page: NINDS

Article title: NINDS Parkinson's Disease Information Page: NINDS

Main condition: Parkinson's disease

Conditions: Parkinson's disease

What is Parkinson's Disease?
Parkinson's disease belongs to a group of conditions called motor system disorders. Parkinson's and related disorders are the result of the loss of dopamine-producing brain cells. Dopamine is a chemical messenger responsible for transmitting signals within the brain. Parkinson's disease occurs when certain nerve cells, or neurons, die or become impaired. Normally, these neurons produce dopamine. Loss of dopamine causes the nerve cells to fire out of control, leaving patients unable to direct or control their movement in a normal manner. The four primary symptoms of Parkinson's are tremor or trembling in hands, arms, legs, jaw, and face; rigidity or stiffness of the limbs and trunk; bradykinesia, or slowness of movement; and postural instability or impaired balance and coordination. Patients may also have difficulty walking, talking, or completing other simple tasks. The disease is both chronic and progressive. Parkinson's is not usually inherited. Early symptoms are subtle and occur gradually.

Is there any treatment?
A variety of medications provide dramatic relief from the symptoms, but no drug can stop the progression of the disease. In some cases, surgery is an appropriate treatment. Some doctors recommend physical therapy or muscle-strengthening exercises.

What is the prognosis?
At present, there is no way to predict or prevent Parkinson's disease.

What research is being done?
The NINDS supports a broad range of studies aimed at discovering the cause(s) of Parkinson's disease, finding better treatments, and ultimately preventing and curing the disorder. For more information, please visit the Parkinson's Disease Research Web Site.


American Parkinson Disease Association
1250 Hylan Blvd.
Suite 4B
Staten Island, NY 10305-1946
Tel: 718-981-8001 800-223-2732 Calif: 800-908-2732
Fax: 718-981-4399

National Parkinson Foundation
1501 N.W. 9th Avenue
Bob Hope Research Center
Miami, FL 33136-1494
Tel: 305-547-6666 800-327-4545 Fla: 800-433-7022
Fax: 305-243-4403

Parkinson Alliance
211 College Road East
3rd Floor
Princeton, NJ 08540
Tel: 609-688-0870 800-579-8440
Fax: 609-688-0875

Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson's Research
Grand Central Station
P.O. Box 4777
New York, NY 10163
Tel: 212-213-3525

Parkinson's Action Network (PAN)
300 North Lee Street
Suite 500
Alexandria, VA 22314
Tel: 800-850-4726 703-518-8877 Calif: 707-544-1994
Fax: 703-518-0673

Parkinson's Disease Foundation (PDF)
710 West 168th Street
New York, NY 10032-9982
Tel: 212-923-4700 800-457-6676
Fax: 212-923-4778

Parkinson's Institute
1170 Morse Avenue
Sunnyvale, CA 94089-1605
Tel: 408-734-2800 800-786-2958
Fax: 408-734-8522

Parkinson's Resource Organization
74-090 El Paseo
Suite 102
Palm Desert, CA 92260-4135
Tel: 760-773-5628 310-476-7030 877-775-4111
Fax: 760-773-9803

Worldwide Education & Awareness for Movement Disorders (WE MOVE)
204 West 84th Street
New York, NY 10024
Tel: 800-437-MOV2 (6682) 212-875-8312
Fax: 212-875-8389

Related NINDS Publications and Information

  • Parkinson's Disease: Hope Through Research
    An informational booklet on Parkinson's Disease compiled by the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS).
  • La Enfermedad de Parkinson: Esperanza en la Investigacion
    A Spanish-language public information booklet on Parkinson's disease/Informacion de la Enfermadad de Parkinson.
  • Parkinson's Disease Research Agenda
    NINDS Parkinson's Disease Research Agenda, March 2000.
  • Parkinson's Disease Backgrounder
    A backgrounder on Parkinson's disease.
  • September 1999 Parkinson's Testimony
    NINDS Director's September 1999 Congressional testimony on NIH Parkinson's disease research.
  • Parkinson's Disease: A Research Planning Workshop
    Summary of a 1995 Parkinson's disease research planning workshop sponsored by the National Institutes of Health.
  • Researchers Find Genetic Links for Late-Onset Parkinson's Disease
    December 2001 news summary on recent findings in Parkinson's disease genetics.
  • Parkinsonian Symptoms Decrease in Rats Given Stem Cell Transplants
    January 2002 news summary on embryonic stem cells used in a mouse model for Parkinson's disease.
  • Workshop Summary: Cognitive and Emotional Aspects of Parkinson's Disease
    Summary of a workshop, "Cognitive: and Emotional Aspects of Parkinson's disease: Working Group Meeting", held January 25-26, 2001.
  • Third Annual Udall Centers of Excellence for Parkinsonís Disease Research Meeting
    Summary of Third Annual Udall Centers for Parkinson's Disease Research meeeting. NINDS, the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, is the leading supporter of biomedical research on the brain and nervous system.
  • Parkinson's Disease Research Web
    An NIH disease specific web site to facilitate research on Parkinson's Disease. NINDS, the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, is the leading supporter of biomedical research on the brain and nervous system.
  • Myoclonus
    Myoclonus fact sheet compiled by the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS).
  • Tremor
    Tremor information sheet compiled by NINDS, the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke.

    Fact sheets are public domain. You may copy them.

    Interactive Health Education Resources On Line

    Interactive health education resources compiled by the National Library of Medicine including a tutorial on Parkinson's Disease.

    Provided by:

    The National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke

    National Institutes of Health

    Bethesda, MD 20892


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