The Era of New and Exciting Treatment for Parkinson's Disease
"It is the dawn of new era," exclaims a research study organization specializing in stem-cell based implants in its fourth meeting in Kyoto. GForce-PD has finally found a breakthrough in its costly research that is aimed at manufacturing stem-cell derived dopamine neurons that are readily available and can treat a large number of Parkinson’s disease patients.
As of right now, there is no cure for Parkinson’s disease. The current treatment focuses on alleviating its symptoms and is accompanied by adverse side effects. The new neuronal replacement therapies are geared towards addressing the shortcoming of the current treatment regime. It is anticipated that this new therapy has potential to halt and reverse the progression of this disease.
This news comes as a delight to many Parkinson's disease patients as this disease is estimated to be affecting around 10 million people worldwide, mostly affecting the elderly.
Understanding Parkinson’s disease
Parkinson’s disease is a neurodegenerative disease that affects the motor system. This disease damages the central nervous system in the long run, which is responsible for movements. The central nervous system is a complex system that comprises of the brain and the spinal cord. The brain has many cells including basal ganglia and dopamine. Basal ganglia is responsible for controlling all the body movements such as walking, talking, and even breathing. It cannot do this without hormones secreted by dopamine. When there is an inadequate secretion of dopamine hormones, then the body movements become delayed and uncoordinated. This is what we call Parkinson’s disease.
A patient with this condition will often have complications such as dementia, sleep disorders, mood swings, difficulty in swallowing, fatigue, bladder problems, constipation, low blood pressure, smell dysfunction, pain, and sexual dysfunction. Genetics, old age, gender, and excessive exposure to herbicides and pesticides are the common risk factors for this disease.
Current treatment of Parkinson’s disease
The current treatment aims at managing the symptoms of Parkinson's disease. These symptoms are tremors, sluggish movement, limb stiffness, unstable body coordination, and speech problems that can lead to other complications.
The treatment includes using Levodopa medication, which is an important first-line drug in managing PD disease, and the brain synthesizes this drug into dopamine. If taken plainly it induces nausea and vomiting, so it’s taken with a combination of Carbidopa. Unfortunately, it has adverse side effects such as nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite lightheadedness, lowered blood pressure and dyskinesia, which is the involuntarily, fitful, writhing movements of the hands, face, arms, and legs. This happens as a result of the long-term usage of Levodopa drug of 3-5 years, and it has also became one of the most notable symptoms for Parkinson's disease. To control it, levodopa is usually combined with an amantadine drug.
Dopamine antagonist drugs mimic the effects of the dopamine hormone without being converted. Their side effects include excessive daytime sleepiness, visual hallucinations, confusion, swelling of the ankle, dyskinesia, and compulsive behaviors such as bulk shopping and gambling.
MOA-B inhibitors block the breakdown of dopamine in the brain making more dopamine available, hence reducing motor symptoms of Parkinson's disease. Its side effects also include mild nausea, dry mouth, lightheadedness, constipation, confusion, and hallucinations.
Anticholinergic drugs help in relieving tremor symptoms. These drugs are the oldest class of medications that are used to treat Parkinson's disease in the 1900's. They have side effects such as confusion, hallucinations, short-term memory, dry mouth, urinary retention, and blurred vision.
COMT inhibitors are used with Levodopa. They block COMT enzyme from transforming the Levodopa into a useless form, which results in more Levodopa available in the brain. The side effects of this inhibitor are confusion, hallucinations, discoloration of urine, and diarrhea.