Parkinson’s disease: clinical aspects
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- Klockgether, T. Cell Tissue Res (2004) 318: 115. doi:10.1007/s00441-004-0975-6
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Parkinsonism is a clinical syndrome characterized by akinesia, muscular rigidity, and resting tremor. The most frequent cause of parkinsonism is Parkinson’s disease (PD). Progressive loss of substantia nigra neurons together with the occurrence of Lewy bodies are considered essential neuropathological features of PD. Recent neuropathological studies suggest that nigral degeneration is only part of a more extended brain degeneration that starts in the medulla oblongata and then spreads to the mesencephalon and cerebral cortex. Correspondingly, the clinical symptoms occurring in PD go far beyond parkinsonism. Depending on the disease stage, autonomic dysfunction, olfactory disturbances, depression, and dementia are frequently encountered in PD. These neuropathological and clinical observations have major implications for future research in PD. In particular, the analysis of the properties that the neuronal cell types involved in PD have in common and that might make them susceptible to degeneration is essential.