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Parkinsons Disease

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Introduction

Parkinson's Disease (PD) The problem: At the moment there is no cure for PD and treatments still have a long way to go before PD is no longer a major issue. But the real problem is which treatments to use and which path shows the most potential to a full time cure? Introduction: PD normally affects people over the age of 50. It becomes more common with increasing age. 'About 5 in 1,000 people in their 60s and about 40 in 1,000 people in their 80s have PD'1. It affects both men and women but is a little more common in men. PD is not usually inherited, and can affect anyone. However, genetic factors may be important in the small number of people who develop the disease before the age of 50. PD therefore affects a lot of people in the UK and I have chosen this topic so I have a greater understanding of what they go through and how we can help those affected. Background: Biology of Parkinson's disease? Parkinson's disease is a chronic disorder of part of the brain called the substantia nigra. It mainly affects the way the brain co-ordinates the movements of the muscles in various parts of the body. This area of the brain sends messages down nerves in the spinal cord to help control the muscles of the body. Messages are passed between brain cells, nerves and muscles by chemicals called neurotransmitters. Dopamine is the main neurotransmitter that is made by the brain cells in the substantia nigra1. In PD, cells in the substantia nigra are damaged and die. The cause is unknown. Over time, more and more cells become damaged and die. The more cells that are damaged the less dopamine is produced. The reduction of cells and the low level of dopamine in the cells in this part of the brain causes nerve messages to the muscles to become slowed and abnormal1. ...read more.

Middle

Economics of drugs in PD As shown in figure 1.2 drug development requires a huge amount of research and testing and can take more than 10 years before a useable drug is created. This obviously requires a huge amount of investment and general drug development costs vary between 500 and 2,000 million dollars. R&D is often done by independent companies or government organizations. Most companies or organizations will link with universities to share information and facilities and hopefully quicken to process of discovering a new drug. 'After approval, pharmaceutical companies have a short period of exclusivity before patents expire and other companies can market the same drugs as generics. This time is used to recoup the massive investment required to develop and launch a new drug. However, the companies must also continue to test their drugs and monitor the feedback from healthcare professionals in order to identify undiscovered side effects, risk factors and interactions.'13 Drug companies are some of the most profitable industries in the world and although a large amount of money is needed in research and development (R&D) only 1 in 5 dollars made is then invested in further research. Many companies spent nearly twice as much money on advertising and marketing than R&D and demand is so much higher than it needs to be that companies can afford to boost prices to maximise profit. Luckily with PD this becomes less of a problem as people are unlikely take and therefore buy drugs that are meant for PD when they don't actually need it. This is because the symptoms tend to be quite clear and drugs like levodopa are not readily available unless prescribed. Benefits to humans Drugs can have a massive impact on people suffering from PD and they aim to do a number of things: 1) Improve standards of living- by reducing the affects of PD and slowing the process of neurodegeneration it should allow the person suffering to do basic things (such as tying shoelaces, writing etc) ...read more.

Conclusion

It primary aim is to ''reduce the burden of neurological disease - a burden borne by every age group, by every segment of society, by people all over the world.'' It is funded by the government so should provide no bias and the site aims to educate people about various neurological disorders including Parkinson's disease. It states "mitochondrial dysfunction has numerous consequences... each of which may be important in Parkinson's disease.'' This is also backed by an article: http://www.nature.com/nrneurol/journal/v6/n2/full/nrneurol.2009.221.html that states '' dysfunctional energy metabolism might be a central element of the pathological process underlying the development of PD.'' The site was last updated on the 25th of July 2008. As the site is run and updated by the government with no other purpose but to inform I think it can be used a very reliable source of information. 4. Name: Explore Stem Cells Url: http://www.explorestemcells.co.uk/ Date accessed: 20/02/10 5. Writer: Dr. Ted Peters Date accessed: 9/02/10 Url: http://www.counterbalance.org/stemtp/quest2-frame.html Evaluation: Ted Peters is a professor of Systematic Theology and is also co-editor of Theology and Science. He has written many books including 'The Stem Cell Debate' showing he is an expert in the subject of stem cells. 6. Magazine: Biological Sciences Article: Embryonic stem cells: a medical dream? Volume 22, Number 1, September 2009, Pg 29 Date accessed: 26/2/10 7. Name: Constipation - is it muscular for PD patients Url: http://www.netwellness.org/question.cfm/19693.htm Date Accessed: 28/2/10 8. Name: Secondary Symptoms of Parkinson's Disease Url:http://ucanhealth.com/topics/?T=secondary_symptoms_parkinsons_disease Date Accessed: 28/2/10 9. Name: Anxiety and Parkinson's disease Url: http://neuro.psychiatryonline.org/cgi/content/abstract/8/4/383 Date accessed: 1/3/10 10. Name: Dopaminergic Agents Url: http://www.wemove.org/par/par_da.html Date accessed: 15/3/10 11. Name: MAO-B inhibitors in idiopathic Parkinson's Url: http://www.imt.ie/clinical/mental-health-cns/maob-inhibitors-in-idiopathic.html Date accessed: 15/3/10 12. Name: about animal testing Url: http://www.aboutanimaltesting.co.uk/allegations-abuse-related-animal-testing.html Date accessed: 20/3/10 13. Name: Drug development Url: http://genome.wellcome.ac.uk/doc_WTD020915.html Date accessed: 20/3/10 14. Name: About dementia Url: http://www.about-dementia.com/images/ParkinsonsDopamine.jpg Date accessed: 20/2/10 15. Url: www.msd.com.hk/images/health_info/drug_education/rad_chart Date accessed: 15/3/10 16. Url: www.acceleratingfuture.com/michael/blog/2007/07/page/2 Date accessed: 20/3/10 17. Name: Genetic forms of PD Url: http://parkinsons.about.com/od/parkinsonsdiseasebasics/a/genetic_cure.htm Date accessed: 28/3/10 ?? ?? ?? ?? ...read more.

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