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The Depletion of Dopamine in the Brain Resulting Parkinsons In the United States there are over one million people affected with Parkinsons disease alone There are twenty new cases of the disease reported for every one hundred thousand people per year The depletion of the chemical dopamine is found to be the primary cause of Parkinsons disease The symptoms of Parkinsons are a direct result of dopamine depletion Although the cause of Parkinsons is unknown there are many theories on its etiologyCalne 1993 p1021 Parkinsons Disease was first described in an essay on The Shaking Palsy published in1817 by James Parkinson a London physician Symptoms of the disease date back as far as 5000 BC James Parkinson documented many of the symptoms associated with the disease and this is how the disease bears its nameLove 2002 p138 What is it Parkinsons Disease is classified as a chronic disease that is associated with Basal Ganglia deterioration within the brainlove 2002 p138 This degeneration creates shortage of the brain-signaling chemical known as dopamine causing impaired movementParkinsons disease occurs when certain nerve cells or neurons in an area of the brain known as the substantia nigra die or become impaired Normally these neurons produce an important brain chemical known as dopamine Dopamine is a chemical messenger responsible for transmitting signals between the substantia nigra and the next relay station of the brain the corpus striatum to produce smooth purposeful muscle activity Loss of dopamine causes the nerve cells of the striatum to fire out of control leaving patients unable to direct or control their movements in a normal mannerWolen 1997 p52-59 Studies have shown that Parkinsons patients have a loss of 80 percent or more of dopamine-producing cells in the substantia nigra The cause of this cell death or impairment is not known but significant findings by research scientists continue to yield fascinating new clues to the diseaseFlint 1994 p2275-2280
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