Both Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease affect nearly half a million people each year with their debilitating and eventually life-robbing symptoms. While Alzheimer’s steals memories and personality and eventually leads to decreased motor function, Parkinson’s disease robs the person of basic motor function causing a shaking or palsy to run throughout the body. Scientists have wondered for years whether or not there was a connection for the two diseases, either in the genes or some environmental factor that triggered the onset of both Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s Disease.
A Discussion of the Two Players
Parkinson’s disease is an incurable disease of the nervous system where the neuro-transmitters in the brain begin to malfunction, causing a trembling in the body and limbs that gets progressively worse over time. Symptoms of rigidity and trouble walking at a normal gait also appear over time. Eventually this disease will rob the person of the ability to control their balance leading to more falls and slips, which is a concern for their well being.
Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease are different in that while Parkinson’s disease appears to focus more on physical ailments, Alzheimer’s appears to affect the mental capacities before the motor skills and physical ones deteriorate. Common everyday forgetfulness turns into confusion and forgetfulness that becomes a problem for every day activity. The location of homes or remembering the faces of children or friends becomes more and more difficult with time. Eventually, the personality can change as a result of the disease.
Is There a Connection?
In April of 2003, a scientific study indicated that there may be a connection between Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease. In that study, it was concluded that older adults who develop the tremors and other classical symptoms of Parkinson’s disease may be up to eight times as likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease as well. In addition, it has been shown that the symptoms of both Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease can be very similar and perhaps follow the same lines, although the root cause may be somewhat different.
Research also suggests that Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease may have a connection in how the two diseases progress over time. The same study published in the April 2003 issue of The Archives of Neurology tracked the progression of symptoms associated with Parkinson’s disease among 824 Catholic clergy members with an average age of 75, and who had no signs of Alzheimer’s disease at the beginning of the study. After approximately four and half years, 79% of the study’s participants experienced a more rapid progression of the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease. Of those who experienced the most rapid progression, it was found that they were eight times as likely to have symptoms of both Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease.
Is there a connection between Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease? So far the medical profession is still debating that idea, but more and more studies indicate that they’re might be a link between these two debilitating diseases. Only more time, and more research will be able to explain the connection, if any, between Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease.