Parkinson’s disease is a well known neurological condition in which Dr. Bruno Gallo has a great deal of experience with. Dr. Gallo specializes in Parkinson’s disease along with other neurological disorders and procedures such as Deep Brain Stimulation, Essential Tremor, Dystonia, and Epilepsy.
Parkinson’s disease occurs when the nerve cells or neurons in an area of the brain (substantia nigra) become impaired or die. Substantia nigra is known to be involved in producing body movements by making an important brain chemical known as dopamine. Less dopamine is produced as the neurons and nerve cells in this area start dying. This meagreness of dopamine causes movement problems in people suffering with Parkinson’s disease.
Dopamine is a chemical neurotransmitter that is believed to transmit nerve signals from substantia nigra to different parts of the brain. Coupling of substantia nigra and corpus striatum, another area in the brain, is necessary in producing smooth bodily movements. Loss and scarcity of dopamine in this circuit causes abnormal nerve firing patterns leading the brain to carry out impaired movements.
In cases of Parkinson’s disease, severe pathological changes such as decrease of dendritic length, loss of dendritic spines and several types of dendritic varicosities were found only in the melanin-containing pars compacta neurons, an area in the brain.
Loss of Norepinephrine at nerve endings:
Studies and research completed by Dr. Bruno Gallo and other renowned neurologists have shown that people with Parkinson disease also have loss of nerve endings that are involved in production of Norepinephrine. Norepinephrine is very much similar to dopamine and it is the potent chemical messenger of the sympathetic nervous system. The sympathetic nervous system steers many autonomic functions of the body, such as blood pressure and heart rate. So the non-movement features in Parkinson’s like fatigue and irregular blood pressure can be explained by taking into account the deficiency of Norepinephrine.
Accumulation of lewy bodies in brain cells:
The hallmark of Parkinson’s disease (PD) is the appearance of fibrillar aggregates known as Lewy bodies (LBs). LB formation has been considered to be an important indication for neuronal degeneration, for this reasons neuronal loss is found in the predilection sites for LBs. up till now; more than 70 molecules have been probed in LBs, of which alpha-synuclein is a prime constituent of LB fibrils. Alpha-synuclein immunohistochemistry shows that diffuse cytoplasmic staining transforms into pale bodies through compaction, and LBs arise from the peripheral portion of pale bodies. This alpha-synuclein abnormality is found in 10% of pigmented neurons in the substantia nigra.
Researchers do not know why these Lewy bodies are formed and what their role is in Parkinson’s disease, yet it is known that these fibrillar bodies may prevent the neuronal cells from functioning normally or they may prove to be helpful by blocking the harmful proteins allowing the cells to function normally.
Harmful protein buildup:
There is other research which suggests that the cell’s protein disposal function gets impaired in people with Parkinson’s disease causing aggregation of proteins such as alpha-synuclein to harmful levels which may trigger pre-mature neuronal cell death. But still the exact role of proteins deposits remains a mystery to researchers.