What is Parkinson's Disease?
Neurotransmitters create the pathways for the cells in your body communicate. Your brain uses neurotransmitters to tell your body how to move. In Parkinson’s Disease, neurons that produce the neurotransmitter dopamine die off in the basal ganglia, an area of the brain that controls body movement. As more and more of these dopaminergic neurons are destroyed, the brain can no longer control the body because the brain can no longer communicate with the body. This results in people shaking and jerking in spasms. As the disease progresses, people have less and less control over their bodily functions until they can no longer breathe or swallow.
Today, the dogs in PADs provide valuable information to research scientists by helping to narrow the search for a biomarker for Parkinson’s Disease. The PADs also supply data information for clinical trial testing by providing PD odor detection feedback as participants are periodically tested for their response to a drug or therapeutic program. Both areas of research supply clues to the cause of Parkinson’s.
Finding the cause to Parkinson’s is the first step to finding the cure.