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Also called: Paralysis agitans, Shaking palsy
Parkinson's disease is a disorder that affects nerve cells, or neurons, in a part of the brain that controls muscle movement. In Parkinson's, neurons that make a chemical called dopamine die or do not work properly. Dopamine normally sends signals that help coordinate your movements. No one knows what damages these cells. Symptoms of Parkinson's disease may include
As symptoms get worse, people with the disease may have trouble walking, talking or doing simple tasks. They may also have problems such as depression, sleep problems or trouble chewing, swallowing or speaking.
Parkinson's usually begins around age 60, but it can start earlier. It is more common in men than in women. There is no cure for Parkinson's disease. A variety of medicines sometimes help symptoms dramatically.
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U.S. National Library of Medicine, 8600 Rockville Pike, Bethesda, MD 20894
National Institutes of Health | Department of Health & Human Services
|Date last updated: 13 April 2009
Topic last reviewed: 17 March 2009