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Lexicon

Alpha-synuclein: a protein that builds up in certain nerve cells in certain brain regions of people with PD and related conditions

Anosmia: a loss of the sense of smell

Anticholinergics: a class of drugs often used for the management of PD, typically as adjunct medications to other, standard PD therapies; used to reduce the tremor of PD or ease the problems associated with the wearing off of levodopa therapy

Apathy: a lack of enthusiasm and motivation for daily activities


Binge eating disorder: an eating disorder characterized by overconsumption of food


Bradykinesia: a slowness of movement; a common motor symptom of PD

Care partner: a person, such as a close family member or a friend, who supports an individual with a chronic medical condition

Cognitive: pertains to thought processes, such as memory, attention, concentration, and judgment

Cognitive behavioral therapy: a form of psychotherapy used to treat depression and anxiety that focuses on challenging unrealistic thoughts and replacing them with more realistic ones


Compulsion: a very strong desire, hard to control,  to do something repeatedly 


DaTscan: an imaging test used to detect dopamine function in the brain; can help differentiate essential tremor from idiopathic PD and other disorders that cause tremor


Deep brain stimulation (DBS): involves the use of embedded pulse generators to suppress the motor symptoms of PD, thereby allowing for a reduction in medication; surgical option for people with advanced PD who have tried a number of different medication regimens for their motor symptoms


Degeneration: a process by which cells, like neurons, break down to eventually die

Dopamine: a brain chemical (neurotransmitter) that enables movement; brain levels of dopamine fall in certain brain regions in people with PD

Dopamine agonists: drugs that mimic the action of dopamine

Dopaminergic medication: drugs that aim to compensate for dopamine deficiency


Dopaminergic neurons: neurons producing dopamine


Dyskinesia: involuntary movements caused by long-term levodopa therapy 


Dysphagia: a difficulty moving food from the mouth to the esophagus


Dystonia: involuntary and sustained muscle contractions


Essential tremor: a neurologic movement disorder in which tremor is the major symptom. Tremor is typically an action tremor, rather than the rest tremor of PD


Erectile dysfunction: an inability to get or maintain a sufficient erection for satisfactory sex


Heimlich’s method: a technique that frees the airways in case of suffocation or choking


Hypersexuality: a big sexual appetite, frequent and intense sexual urges

Hyposmia: a reduced sensitivity to odors

Gastrostomy: an intervention consisting of connecting the stomach to the skin through an orifice through which food is delivered 


Gene: element made up of DNA fragments that conditions the transmission of a hereditary character 


Genetic mutation: a change in the DNA sequence of a cell that can appear spontaneously, or following exposure to hazardous substance


Genetic therapy: a type of treatment that involves putting genes into individual’s cells to treat a disease


General neurologist: a physician who is trained to diagnose and treat neurologic disorders


Impulsiveness: a tendency to act without thinking about the consequences of one’s actions

Lewy bodies: clumps of protein (alpha-synuclein) found in the nerve cells in certain brain regions of people with PD and related conditions

Micrographia: a slow and small handwriting

Motor fluctuations: periods of well-being followed by periods of blockage or involuntary movements

Motor symptoms: symptoms that primarily involve movement

Movement disorder: a neurological condition that affects movement


Movement disorder specialist: a physician, typically a neurologist, who has undergone further training to diagnose and treat movement disorders

Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI): an imaging technique that allows physicians to see the structure of the brain

Nervous system: a system of the human body that includes the brain, spinal cord and nerves


Neurons: nerve cells which transmit messages in the brain


Neurotransmitter: a brain chemical that allows neurons to communicate with one another


Stem cells: cells from which all the other cells develop. They are cells that can transform into any types of cells. 


Non-motor symptoms: symptoms that do not primarily involve movement


Off time: periods when treatments are not providing control of symptoms


Orthostatic hypotension: a decreased blood pressure when changing from lying or sitting to standing


Pallidotomy: a surgery that induces damage to the globus pallidus, a region of the brain, to reduce dystonia, a side effect of PD drugs, usually as adjunct to other standard PD therapies; used to reduce PD tremor or relieve problems associated with wearing off of levodopa. 


Parkinsonian syndromes: movement disorders that are not idiopathic PD but have some overlapping symptoms, such as rigidity and slowness of movement (bradykinesia)

Resting tremor: a tremor that occurs when still; a hallmark of PD

Substantia nigra: meaning “black substance” in Latin, a region in the base of the brain that contains dopamine-producing neurons, which appear dark under a microscope; people with PD experience cell loss in this region

Thalamotomy: a surgery that induces a damage to the thalamus, a region of the brain, to reduce tremors caused by Parkinson’s disease


Work allowance: a physical or intellectual task agreed between the employer and the employee

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