Parkinson's disease and movement disorders service

 

This is a network of clinicians who support people who have or are suspected of having the following conditions:

  • Parkinson's disease
  • Parkinson's plus syndromes
  • tremor
  • tystonic syndromes
  • Huntington's disease
  • other movement disorders.

People are seen for the following reasons for the diagnosis or management of their symptoms or for advice and information.

Movement disorders

Movement disorders describe a number of neurological conditions which present with problems in the control of body movement. This can involve too much movement e.g. tremor, tics, dystonia and chorea (dancing, writhing) or too little or too slow movement (bradykinesia).

Typically these conditions are due to disease processes in the Basal Ganglia (the deep grey matter structures of the brain). Some of these conditions are described as 'neurodegenerative' and progress over time. Others cause fixed problems and may be due to secondary processes such as stroke.

The most common of the movement disorders are Parkinson's disease and Essential Tremor. The diagnosis of these is based on clinical assessment. Conventional brain imaging (MRI and CT) does not show any structural abnormality in these two conditions and does not help in their diagnosis.

Parkinson's disease

Parkinson's disease is caused by reduction in the amount of a chemical in the brain called dopamine. The symptoms of Parkinson's disease can include a tremor or shaking, slowness of movement and stiffness or rigidity. It should be remembered that there are other conditions which cause all of these three symptoms and that the diagnosis of Parkinson's disease should be made by a doctor experienced in this condition.

There are many effective treatments for the symptoms of Parkinson's disease. It is a long-term condition and at different stages of the disease, different treatments may be more effective. As well as the medical treatments for these motor problems, there is also increasing awareness and understanding of non-motor symptoms and of the appropriate management and treatment of these.