Parkinson’s disease

What is Parkinson’s disease?

Parkinson’s Disease is a progressive neurological condition that affects movement. 

It is caused by the loss of cells in the brain that produce dopamine, an important neurotransmitter (a chemical that carries signals between the neurons in the brain), which enables us to perform smooth, coordinated movements.

The tree main symptoms of Parkinson's are tremor (shaking), slowness of movement, and rigidity (muscle stiffness). 

It gets progressively worse over time, and although there are some treatments that can relieve the symptoms, there is no cure.

Who is affected?

There are approximately 145,000 people in the UK with Parkinson’s disease.

It generally develops in people over the age of 50, although younger people can be diagnosed with young-onset Parkinson’s.

How we help

We have provided funding to take forward research to optimise the use of Deep Brain Stimulation (DBS) in patients with Parkinson's disease and certain other neurological disorders. Professor Ludvic Zrinzo and colleagues at UCL Institute of Neurology and the National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery have helped more than a thousand patients over the last 16 years.

DBS does not provide a cure for Parkinson's disease, but provides relief from symptoms. 

Ludvic and colleagues continue their research to develop and refine the procedure, improving safety and patient comfort. They are pioneers in the technique of using MRI to allow "asleep" DBS, a much more comfortable and less daunting way to undergo surgery than under local anaesthesia. They have also applied this method in patients with other conditions, and have published hundreds of papers, sharing their findings with others working in the field, for the benefit of patients worldwide.

Brain Research UK is proud to support this research, which is leading to real improvements in patient outcomes. Read more.