Parkinson’s Disease Awareness, Treatments
April is Parkinson’s Awareness Month with World Parkinson’s Day observed on April 11. In Mexico, there are about 230,000 diagnosed patients and over 40,000 seeking medical attention, diagnosis and treatment. Parkinson’s disease is the fastest-growing neurological condition in the world.
Parkinson’s is a chronic and progressive neurodegenerative disease of the nervous system associated with muscle stiffness, walking difficulties, tremors and alterations in the coordination of movements, among over 40 symptoms, according to the National Commission of Human Rights. Symptoms generally develop slowly over the years and, according to the Parkinson Organization, their progression is different from one patient to the next. Its most common symptoms are tremors at rest, bradykinesia, limb rigidity and gait and balance problems.
The cause of Parkinson's disease is unknown but several factors seem to play a role, including specific gene mutations or environmental triggers such as exposure to certain toxins, explained the Health Institute for Wellbeing. Other risk factors are associated with age, as this disease often develops in those over 60 years old. Men are more likely to develop this disease than women.
While there is no cure for Parkinson’s, vector-based intracerebral gene therapies are being used to treat this and other specific neurodegenerative conditions, according to American Journal of Managed Care. Other treatments include medications such as those developed by UCB, which are working with Mexican public entities like IMSS, ISSSTE and SEDENA, according to Omar Lugo, Country Lead, nPVU and Market Access, Operations Head, UCB Mexico and Latin America.
Another potential treatment, deep brain stimulation (DBS) surgery, was first approved in 1997 to treat Parkinson’s tremors and later for the treatment of advanced Parkinson's symptoms. In 2016, DBS surgery was approved for the earlier stages of Parkinson's for those who have dealt with the disease for at least four years and have motor symptoms not adequately controlled with medication. Deep brain stimulation manages Parkinson's disease symptoms by surgically implanting an electrode into the brain, explained the National Institutes of Health.
Some epidemiological studies suggest that physical exercise reduces the risk of developing Parkinson's disease.