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Parkinson's Disease Health Center

Glossary of Parkinson's Disease Terms

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Cryothalamotomy: A surgical procedure where a "super-cooled" probe is inserted deep into the part of the brain called the thalamus in an effort to stop the tremors of Parkinson's. This type of surgery is rarely recommended and has been replaced by deep brain stimulation (DBS).

Deep brain stimulation (DBS): A new surgical procedure that is very effective in treating Parkinson's disease. The surgery includes the implantation of permanent electrodes in various parts of the brain through which continuous pulses of electricity are given to control the symptoms of Parkinson's.

Dementia: The loss of some intellectual abilities, characterized by loss of awareness and confusion.

Deprenyl (Eldepryl, Selegiline, Jumex): A drug that slows the breakdown of important brain chemicals like dopamine. This medication may help slow the progression of Parkinson's disease early in the course of the illness.

Dopamine: A chemical produced by the brain; it assists in the effective transmission of messages from one nerve cell to the next. People with Parkinson's have decreased amounts of the chemical in the basal ganglia and substantia nigra, two structures located deep in the brain. Dopamine coordinates the actions of movement, balance, and walking.

Dopamine agonist: Drugs that copy the effects of the brain chemical dopamine and increase the amount of dopamine that is available to the brain for use.

Dopaminergic: An adjective used to describe a chemical, a drug, or a drug effect related to dopamine.

Drug induced Parkinsonism: Parkinson's symptoms, which have been caused by drugs used to treat other conditions, (for example, Reglan, a drug used to treat stomach problems, and certain antidepressants).

Dysarthria: Speech difficulties due to impairment of the muscles associated with speech.

Dyskinesia: Abnormal muscle movements. May appear as a side effect of long-term drug treatment in Parkinson's and may worsen in response to stress. (See also Levodopa Induced Dyskinesia)

Dysphasia: Difficulty speaking.

Encephalitis: Inflammation of the brain usually caused by a viral infection.

Ethopropazine (Parsidol/Parsitan): A drug sometimes used in the past to treat Parkinson's disease.

Extrapyramidal nervous system: Refers to the basal ganglia and its connections, Mainly concerned with the regulation of automatic movements.

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