The Shaking Palsy: A review on Parkinson’s disease

Parkinson's Disease

Today we will be talking about one of the most known diseases – The Parkinson’s disease. Now what about this? How about simple things like putting on a pair of shoes, walking upstairs or getting in and out of bed can become mammoth tasks? and finding yourselves housebound because you have no means of getting out? Isn’t that depressing?

pd compositeParkinson’s disease also known as the “motor system disorder”, is a progressive disorder of the nervous system that affects a person’s movement, including how they speak and write. Because of the nature of the disease some people with Parkinson’s may find they have trouble with co-ordination, balance and walking. It is one of the most common nervous system disorders of the elderly. Sometimes Parkinson’s disease occurs in younger adults. It affects both men and women. Many people associate Parkinson’s disease with shaking or body tremors. The tremor is often very rhythmic and fairly slow, normally no more than five shakes per second. For some people it causes them to rub their thumb and fingers together -­ an action known as “pill rolling” because it looks likes someone rolling a pill between their fingers.

What’s the reason behind these motor system disorder?

pd2Parkinson’s disease is primarily caused by low and falling dopamine levels. A person with Parkinson’s has abnormally low dopamine levels. Dopamine-generating cells, known as dopaminergic neurons (types of nerve cells) in the substantia nigra part of the brain have died. Experts do not know why these cells die. When dopamine levels are too low, people find it harder to get things done, to control their movements.


Parkinson’s disease symptoms and signs may vary from person to person. Symptoms may affect one or both sides of the body, and can include:

  • Tremors – Often in a hand, arm or leg. Tremor caused by Parkinson’s disease occurs when the person is awake and sitting or standing still (resting tremor) and subsides when the person moves the affected body part.
  • Stiff muscles (rigidity) and aching muscles. One of the most common early signs of Parkinson’s disease is a reduced arm swing on one side when the person is walking that is caused by rigid muscles. Rigidity can also affect the muscles of the legs, face, neck, or other parts of the body and may cause muscles to feel tired and achy.
  • Bradykinesia – Slow, limited movement especially when the person tries to move from a resting position. For instance, it may be difficult to get out of a chair or turn over in bed.
  • Speech changes – You often may have speech problems as a result of Parkinson’s disease. You may speak softly, quickly, slur or hesitate before talking. Your speech may be more of a monotone, rather than with the usual inflections.
  • Writing changes – Writing may appear small and become difficult.


Some secondary symptoms of Parkinson’s disease include the following:

  • Difficulty swallowing (dysphagia)–saliva and food may collect in the mouth or back of the throat may cause choking, coughing or drooling
  • Depression
  • Constipation
  • Excessive salivation (hypersalivation)
  • Excessive sweating (hyperhidrosis)
  • Loss of intellectual capacity (dementia)–late in the disease
  • Psychosocial: anxiety, isolation
  • Scaling, dry skin on the face and scalp
  • Slow response to questions (bradyphrenia)
  • Small, cramped handwriting (micrographia)
  • Soft, whispery voice (hypophonia)


Parkinson’s disease can’t be cured, but it can be treated. Home care and medications are essential to relieve many of the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease. However, there’s more to treating Parkinson’s disease than drugs and surgery. The challenge is how to find a medicine or cure that more effective than before. Dr. Demerijian uses the latest in computerized diagnostic modalities including EMG (electromyography), ENG (Electrognathology-Jaw Tracking) and JVA (Joint Vibration Analysis). The use of EMG, ENG and JVA along with radiographs allows for a more accurate determination of the nature or type of TMD experienced.

Dr. G. Gary Demerjian, a versatile medical practitioner who has a private practice of General Dentistry with a special interest in the treatment of gum disease with lasers, Temporomandibular Joint Disorders and Sleep Disordered Breathing/Airway Obstruction, offers all the advantages of the latest treatments and technology as a functional treatment for patients suffering from TMJ disorder and other syndrome.

Dr. Gary DemerjianDr. Demerjian has taken over 1000 hours of postgraduate education courses, in the area of TMJ, Craniofacial Pain, Sleep Disorders and Orthodontics. He has earned a Diplomate/Master in American Academy of Craniofacial Pain, Diplomate in the American Academy of Pain Management, Diplomate of the American Board of Forensic Dentistry and the American Board of Forensic Examiners along with being a Fellow in the American Academy of Craniofacial Pain, the International college of Craniomandibular Orthopedics and a Certified Forensic Consultant. He is knowledgeable in neuro-anatomy, pain patterns, trigger points, the trigeminal branch/nerve and how it correlates to neurologic disorders. More about Dr. Demerjian on this site: (click image below)

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Check out some video testimonials from Dr. Demerijan’s patients:

There are many things you can do to take responsibly for controlling the progress of the disease and to maintain a positive attitude and an enjoyable lifestyle. Most people with Parkinson’s still enjoy their productive lives, doing many of the same things prior to being diagnosed. I want to end this blog with a simple quotation by Neil Gaiman: “You’re alive. That means you have infinite potential. You can do anything, make anything, dream anything. If you change the world, the world will change”. We have no choice of whatever trials life has to encounter, but we always can do something to make it worth living.

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