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Parkinson’s Disease

Parkinson’s disease is one of a group of nervous system conditions that cause abnormal involuntary or voluntary movements, such as tremors, or slow, reduced movements. It is a considered a movement disorder. Parkinson’s disease occurs when the nerve cells in your brain do not make enough dopamine, which is a brain chemical that is important because it transmits signals between your nerve cells and brain to produce smooth movements. Without dopamine, your motion is impaired and sometimes uncontrolled.

The first signs of Parkinson’s disease are often changes in your patterns of movement. You may first notice an involuntary tremor, reduced facial expressions or a slower pace in your walking. Your limbs feel stiff or you may experience a feeling of imbalance.

Parkinson’s disease is a neurodegenerative condition, meaning that your body loses the function of its neurons. Neurons are the cells within your brain and nervous system that transmit information to other nerve cells and muscles. With Parkinson’s disease there is also a gradual reduction in the number of neurons as these cells stop functioning.

As your neurons lose their ability to work properly, symptoms tend to worsen. You may encounter difficulties with your speech, swallowing or walking. Many patients also experience feelings of anxiety and depression.

Parkinson’s disease usually impacts people at about age 60, but it can affect younger individuals. It affects approximately 1 million people in the U.S. according to the National Parkinson Foundation. Each year, about 60,000 new cases are identified.

We provide multi-disciplinary care for patients learning how to live with and manage Parkinson’s disease. At Indiana University Health Neurology & Neurosurgery, several of our neurologists specialize in movement disorders. Our years of caring for patients with Parkinson’s disease allow us to teach you self-care techniques for the early stages of the condition. Your team is ready to provide more intense therapies as the disease progresses.

Our neurologists work with physical, speech and occupational therapists specially trained in neurorehabilitation to help you maintain as much muscle and movement control as possible. Our neurosurgeons perform brain therapies to reduce movement problems. We employ the team approach to pinpoint Parkinson’s disease, which has no blood or diagnostic tests for diagnosis.

Through our Parkinson’s disease clinic at IU Health Neuroscience Center, we help you and your family prepare for the progressive challenges this condition causes, including non-motor symptoms such as changes to your memory, mood and thinking.

At the Indiana University Health Neuroscience Center, we collaborate with the Indiana University School of Medicine Department of Neurology. This gives us access to the latest research and knowledge about treatments for Parkinson’s disease.

Our movement disorders program earned us the designation as a Center for Care by the National Parkinson Foundation. This makes us one of 39 centers worldwide that meet rigorous criteria for research, comprehensive care delivery, professional education and patient outreach services.

We share our expertise to help you gain the knowledge you need to feel empowered to manage your Parkinson’s disease.

How We Can Help

How We Can Help

Parkinson’s Disease Treatment Information

We are constantly working to better understand what causes Parkinson’s disease so that we can develop better and more comprehensive treatments for you.

Parkinson’s Disease Locations & Physicians

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Parkinson’s Disease Support Services

Learn more about Parkinson’s disease treatments at these websites: