Parkinson’s disease is a neurodegenerative disease of the substantia nigra. The substantia nigra is part of a core network in the inner area of the brain (midbrain) referred to as basal ganglia. Parkinson’s disease is characterized by the death of dopaminergic neurons in the substantia nigra which produce neurotransmitting dopamine. Dopamine plays a major role in the creation and control of our body’s movement.
A lack of dopamine in structures of the basal ganglia is the cause of extrapyramidal symptoms such as tremor, stiffness or inflexibility, bradykinesia (slow movement) or immobility and instability.
The disease was discovered in 1817 by Dr James Parkinson. A major role is played in the rehabilitation of people suffering from Parkinson’s disease by programs of occupational therapy and kinesiotherapy which help to achieve a more independent life.
The main aim of the therapy is maintaining the maximum possible functionality in patients through relearning of natural patterns of movement, maintaining flexibility of muscles and substituting impossible kinetic behaviour by other more feasible forms of behaviour with similar effectiveness.