Font Size
A
A
A
2
...

Parkinson Disease Dementia (cont.)

Parkinson's Disease Dementia Causes and Risk Factors

The causes of Parkinson's disease currently remain unclear; although about 10% are genetically linked, the remainder (approximately 90%), are of unknown cause. However, what is known is that clear evidence shows neuronal cells in an area of the brain known as the substantia nigra are altered and destroyed over time. The current popular theory is that combinations of environmental and genetic factors are responsible for this neuronal cell alteration and destruction. The result of these interactions results in the loss of dopamine production, loss of neurons that make dopamine, loss of other neuron-generated substances, and the presence of Lewy bodies in brain cells, all of which are found at autopsy of Parkinson's disease patients.

The major components thought responsible for these changes are not clearly defined but include exposures to toxic environmental substances, oxidation of free radicals that damage cells and their components (for example, generation of Lewy bodies from alpha-synuclein, a protein involved in neurotransmission) and mitochondrial dysfunction. People with certain gene combinations may be more likely to develop these alterations and have Parkinson's disease as a result.

Risk factors for dementia in patients with Parkinson's disease are as follows:

  • Age 70 years or older
  • Score greater than 25 on the Parkinson's disease rating scale (PDRS): This is a test that doctors use to check for progression of the disease.
  • Depression, agitation, disorientation, or psychotic behavior when treated with the Parkinson's disease drug levodopa (Sinamet, Sinemet CR, Parcopa)
  • Exposure to severe psychological stress
  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Low socioeconomic status
  • Low education level
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 4/30/2014

Must Read Articles Related to Parkinson Disease Dementia

Dementia
Dementia Overview Dementia is the loss of reasoning, memory, and other mental abilities. Dementia may be caused by irreversible as well as treatable causes. A variety of tests (b...learn more >>
Dementia With Lewy Bodies
Dementia With Lewy Bodies Dementia is a progressive (gradually worsening) decline of mental abilities that disturbs "cognitive" functions such as memory, thought processes, and speech as...learn more >>
Stroke-Related Dementia
Stroke-Related Dementia Stroke (“brain attack”) is a disease of the blood vessels in and around the brain. It occurs when part of the brain does not receive enough blood to...learn more >>

Patient Comments & Reviews

The eMedicineHealth doctors ask about Parkinson Disease Dementia:

Parkinson's Disease Dementia - Treatment

What treatment are you or your loved one undergoing for Parkinson's disease dementia?

Parkinson's Disease Dementia - Symptoms

What symptoms did you or your loved one have of Parkinson's disease dementia?

Parkinson's Disease Dementia - Progression

What has been the progression of you or your loved ones Parkinson's disease dementia? How are you coping?




Read What Your Physician is Reading on Medscape

Parkinson Disease Dementia »

Parkinson disease (Parkinson's disease, PD) is a disabling, progressive condition that is predominantly thought of as a movement disorder.

Read More on Medscape Reference »


Medical Dictionary