Whenever I hear the term Parkinson’s Disease, the first thing that comes to mind isn’t about its clinical pathophysiology nor treatment or even its signs and symptoms. I am always reminded about my grandfather.
My grandfather suffered greatly because of his condition since 1997 after a vehicular accident. When it got worse, he was bed ridden for several years and couldn’t even function by himself without any help from any of us anymore. He exhibited almost all the major signs and symptoms of the disease like tremors, mask like expression, stooped position, slowness of movement, etc. It was both difficult for him and for us who couldn’t really give him comfort.
As of now, there is no known cure for Parkinson’s Disease. The only relief science could offer are treatments that could control its symptoms and it’s early detection. But before we delve deeper into it, I think it’s better to know what we are dealing with exactly.
What is Parkinson’s Disease?
Parkinson’s Disease is one of the most common nervous system disorders of the elderly, however, it is also a condition that could affect young adults both male and female. In some cases, it also runs in the family.
The disease itself is a progressive central nervous system disorder characterized by a large number of motor and non-motor features that can impact on function to a variable degree. This occurs when the nerve cells that produces dopamine, a brain chemical that help control muscle movement, are slowly destroyed for an unknown reason. With the lack of dopamine production, the nerve cells in that part of the brain cannot properly send messages, inevitably causing a loss of muscle function.
What are the four cardinal features of Parkinson’s Disease?
To simply understand the clinical feature of this motor syndrome, we’ll group these cardinal features under the acronym TRAP.
T - Tremor. The most well-known symptom of a person suffering from this disease. When the body is at rest, the onset of tremor is apparent. However when the body started a voluntary action or during when the body is asleep, tremors disappears. This is often described as a tremor at rest.
R – Rigidity. This is stiffness and resistance to the body’s limb movements, often beginning in the legs. This is due to increased muscle tone and often accompanied by a “cogwheel phenomenon“, a sudden brief halt in the usually smooth respiration or other motor activity.
A - Akinesia (or bradykinesia). This is characterized by the slowness of movement. This is possibly the the most disabling symptom in the early stages of the disease because it encompasses difficulties with planning, initiating and executing movement as well as performing sequential and simultaneous tasks.
P - Postural instability. Flexed posture generally occurs late in the disease. This leads to impaired balance so risk for falls and bone structure is imminent.
What are the ways to diagnose and cure the Parkinson’s Disease?
There is no definitive way to diagnose Parkinson’s Disease however, physicians have always turned to brain scans for neurological examinations. Combining all four cardinal symptoms of Parkinson’s Disease and asking for the patient’s medical history has been a great way to assess the clients as well.
Through new studies, researchers found yet another way to assess the presence of this condition. This time, they have associated it to Temporo Mandibular Joint (TMJ).
Parkinson’s Voice Initiative have developed the technology to test for symptoms using voice recordings alone. In their studies, they have correlated further evidence that there is a jaw misalignment component to Parkinson’s Disease. The common result of their research indicates that bite dysfunction is at the foundation of many forms of movement disorders, and speech abnormalities would be expected.
TMJ Connection on the other hand, is an informative website that is at the fore front of TMJ research. Dr. Demerjian, a well respected Doctor who has vast experience in general dentistry with a special interest in the treatment of gum disease with lasers, Temporomandibular Joint Disorders and Sleep Disordered Breathing/Airway Obstruction, have dedicated a great amount of time expanding his expertise as a provider of advanced dentistry. He aims to provide his patients non-surgical solutions that could help their dental and health problems.
At the moment, there isn’t a solid cure for Parkinson’s Disease, however, TMJ Connection have developed an alternative treatment that could help with Parkinson’s Lip and Hand Tremors. For this research, they have documented a patient’s prognosis and the effect of TMJ treatments on his condition. When the patient first came into the office to seek help, the very first thing that you would notice was the client’s apparent hand tremor. Beforehand, he was diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease. Since some of his symptoms have been affecting his daily routines he was encouraged to seek medical help.
Having met Dr. Demerjian changed everything. With the help of a non-invasive procedure, the client’s hand and lip tremors were altered. By just the use of a specialized mouthpiece, they were able to control his condition. Even the client’s rigid walking have been improved.
After two months, the client came back for his follow up visit and displayed the obvious changes that occurred during his treatment.
In conclusion, my grandfather might have suffered greatly because of the lack of medical advancement during his time, but now that more and more researches have been done and have come to light, such as TMJ Connection’s advancement, it’ll give the new wave of patients a better understanding, disease management and more advanced treatment for their condition.