Parkinson’s disease is a progressive neurodegenerative brain disorder, which causes tremors and difficulty with movement and coordination. Parkinson’s affects nerve cells—called neurons—in a particular part of the brain called the substantia nigra. These neurons normally produce dopa- mine, a brain chemical that relays messages between the substantia nigra and other parts of the brain that control muscle movement. These dopamine-producing neurons are slowly destroyed over time, eventually preventing normal control of movement. The cause of the neuronal degeneration is unknown. In the U.S. more than fifty thousand new PD cases are diagnosed each year.
Symptoms of Parkinson’s disease (which can include, but are not limited to muscle rigidity, tremors, slowed movement, drooling, and difficulty with balance) may initially be mild and may affect one or both sides of the body.
Alzheimer’s disease is a form of dementia that leads to issues with memory, behavior and thinking. Usually, symptoms progress and develop slowly, often becoming worse over time. In some instances, Alzheimer’s can be severe enough to lead to difficulty completing daily tasks.
It is the most common form of dementia, accounting for between 60 and 80 percent of cases. While it is commonly believed to be a disease of old age, Alzheimer’s can appear in someone in his or her 40s, known as early-onset Alzheimer’s. As of now, there is no cure for this disease. However, there are treatments that can impede the progression of symptoms, which improves the quality of life for patients. Research is ongoing across the globe in search of a cure for this debilitating disease. [alz.org]