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The Science Journal of the Lander College of Arts and Sciences

Abstract

The following is an excerpt from this article: Parkinson’s disease was first described and named Paralysis Agitans in 1817 by British physician James Parkinson (Lieberman 2004). Later on, it took on its current name after Dr. Parkinson. Parkinson’s disease (PD) is a neurological disorder for which the cause is yet to be discovered. Like many other diseases, PD has numerous facets. Throughout all of its different stages, it presents with motor, as well as nonmotor, symptoms (Simuni et al. 2009). Though estimates of people affected by PD are constantly being made, it is difficult to determine a precise and accurate number. This difficulty arises since symptoms are often mistaken for other diseases of the nervous system (jointly known as Parkinsonism) or are mistakenly attributed to the normal aging process. It is estimated that over 1 million people in North America are affected by this degenerative disorder. As life expectancy increases, incidence of the disease rises (Lang and Lozano 1998). The mortality rate of PD patients is 2-5 times greater than age-matched controls; this alone indicates the significance of its impact. It is predicted that, by the year 2040, Parkinson’s disease will surpass cancer as the second leading cause of death among the aged (Bennett et al. 1996).

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