Discovered in 1817 by a British doctor who gave his name, Parkinson’s disease affects 4 million people worldwide. On the 100 000 to 150 000 likely PD in France, only 80,000 are known and followed. Too often still slow and earthquakes are attributed to the simple effect of aging.
Each year 8 000 new cases occur. Although this disease usually starts between the ages of 55 and 65, 5 to 10% of patients suffer at well less advanced ages (between 30 and 55 years).
What is Parkinson’s disease?
Discovered in 1817, Parkinson’s disease is still far from having delivered all its secrets. Affecting the nervous system, its cause is still not known. The disease is characterized by the disappearance of a small number of nerve cells (neurons) that secrete a neurotransmitter called dopamine involved in the proper functioning of many regions of the brain, and essential to the survival of cells.
Connection between two neurons
Dopamine is a neurotransmitter (a chemical substance released by neurons that transmit impulses) at the level of the junctions between nerve cells (synapses).
Synapses are the areas of exchanges of information between neurons. At this level, information is exchanged in the form of chemical messages. Chemicals called neurotransmitters are secreted and bind to specific receptors.
Synapse in normal operation
1: Nerve impulses
2: Neurotransmitter (dopamine)
3: Specific to dopamine receptor
4: Dopamine reuptake system
What are the symptoms?
The appearance of the first symptoms is gradual. After a period of intense fatigue, Parkinson’s disease is manifested by earthquakes while the body is at rest, rigidity and a fix to initiate and perform movements. These disorders of the motor command are more often associated with particular psychological aspects of the fact of dopamine deficiency.
What are the risk factors?
To date, no risk factor has been demonstrated.
However, different tracks have been explored1 :
Exposure to certain pesticides;
Exposure to metals (lead, manganese and mercury, iron, copper, cobalt, etc.);
Exposure to toxins non-metallic (industrial toxins, carbon monoxide, cyanide, smoke exhaust, glue, paint, lacquers, etc.);
The occurrence of injuries;
A diet low in antioxidants;
Certain infections (chickenpox, measles, rubella, mumps, etc.).