More information on each of these conditions is available in the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) publication, Parkinson's Disease: Hope Through Research.
Parkinsonian symptoms may also appear in patients with other, clearly distinct neurological disorders such as Wilson disease, Huntington disease, Alzheimer disease, spinocerebellar ataxias, and Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease. Each of these disorders has specific features that help to distinguish them from Parkinson disease.
The Human Phenotype Ontology (HPO) provides the following list of features that have been reported in people with this condition. Much of the information in the HPO comes from Orphanet, a European rare disease database. If available, the list includes a rough estimate of how common a feature is (its frequency). Frequencies are based on a specific study and may not be representative of all studies. You can use the MedlinePlus Medical Dictionary for definitions of the terms below.
|Signs and Symptoms||Approximate number of patients (when available)|
(present in 5%-29% of cases)
(present in 5%-29% of cases)
|Neuronal loss in central nervous system||-|
|Short stepped shuffling gait||-|
|Substantia nigra gliosis||-|
More detailed information about the cause of Parkinson disease is available through an information page developed by the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS). Click here to view this information.
Approximately 15 percent of people with Parkinson disease have a family history of the disorder. These familial cases are caused by mutations in the LRRK2, PARK2, PARK7, PINK1, or SNCA gene, or by alterations in genes that have not yet been identified. Mutations in some of these genes may also play a role in cases that appear to be sporadic.
It is not fully understood how mutations in the LRRK2, PARK2, PARK7, PINK1, or SNCA gene cause Parkinson disease. Some mutations appear to disturb the cell machinery that breaks down (degrades) unwanted proteins. As a result, un-degraded proteins accumulate, leading to the impairment or death of dopamine-producing neurons. Other mutations may involve mitochondria, the energy-producing structures within cells. As a byproduct of energy production, mitochondria make unstable molecules, called free radicals, that can damage the cell. Normally, the cell neutralizes free radicals, but some gene mutations may disrupt this neutralization process. As a result, free radicals may accumulate and impair or kill dopamine-producing neurons.
In some families, alterations in the GBA, SNCAIP, or UCHL1 gene appear to modify the risk of developing Parkinson disease. Researchers have identified some genetic changes that may reduce the risk of developing the disease, while other gene alterations seem to increase the risk.
The resources below provide information about treatment options for this condition. If you have questions about which treatment is right for you, talk to your healthcare professional.
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Research helps us better understand diseases and can lead to advances in diagnosis and treatment. This section provides resources to help you learn about medical research and ways to get involved.
Nonprofit support and advocacy groups bring together patients, families, medical professionals, and researchers. These groups often raise awareness, provide support, and develop patient-centered information. Many are the driving force behind research for better treatments and possible cures. They can direct people to research, resources, and services. Many groups also have experts who serve as medical advisors. Visit their website or contact them to learn about the services they offer. Inclusion on this list is not an endorsement by GARD.
Living with a genetic or rare disease can impact the daily lives of patients and families. These resources can help families navigate various aspects of living with a rare disease.
These resources provide more information about this condition or associated symptoms. The in-depth resources contain medical and scientific language that may be hard to understand. You may want to review these resources with a medical professional.
Parkinson’s Progression Markers Initiative (PPMI)
February 23, 2017
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Multiple members of my family have been diagnosed with Parkinson disease, however there appears to be only one case of parent to child transmission. How does Parkinson disease run in families? See answer
The woman I would like to marry has a family history of Parkinson disease. How is this condition inherited? How is it diagnosed? Is genetic testing available? See answer
Are there any diseases that have similar symptoms to Parkinson disease? See answer