What Causes Parkinson’s Disease?

Parkinson’s Disease primarily affects the basal ganglia.

The basal ganglia, situated in the middle of the brain, is in charge of regulation of movement specifically muscle contraction, force, and coordination of movements.6

The basal ganglia communicate with other structures in the brain to control eye movement, thought processing, regulation of emotion, sleep and wakefulness, and motivation.6 This structure is also in charge of automatic motor movements like walking, changing from one motor activity to another, and knowing where your body is in space.7

Within the basal ganglia is a structure called the substantia nigra. In Parkinsons’ Disease (PD), the dopamine-producing neurons in the substantia nigra degenerate, causing the symptoms seen in PD.6

Dopamine is a chemical, also known as a neurotransmitter, that excites the pathways within the basal ganglia. The lack of dopamine seen in Parkinson’s Disease causes a decrease in the signals sent from the basal ganglia to other structures in the brain.6

The basal ganglia communicates with other areas of the brain, therefore there are more than just motor symptoms seen in PD. The basal ganglia works with the limbic system, which controls emotions, the oculomotor system that controls eye movements, and the prefrontal cortex associated with cognitive changes.6

Scientists still haven’t found exactly why people develop PD, though research shows there may be a correlation with genetics, environment (specifically herbicides and pesticides), age over 60, and the male sex.8

Learn more about Parkinson’s Disease

Understanding Parkinson’s Disease

How does PD affect movement?

Elderly Man with Walking Device

NexStride: A Moving Story

Sidney Collin, inspired by her meeting with Jack Brill, sought to change how people with Parkinson’s Disease move. By incorporating leading research into a mobility device to help with the symptoms of Parkinsonian gait or Freezing of gait, NexStride was born.

Cueing In NexStride

nextstride laser feature

NexStride is the first multi-cue daily assist device that attaches to any standard cane, walker, or walking pole. Users can activate the audio cue, visual cue, or both, and adjust to preferred speed and distance.

These visual and audio cues help users re-establish the connection between the brain and the body and allow the user to walk smoothly again.

Sources

6. Lundy-Ekman L. Basal ganglia, cerebellum, and movement. . Neuroscience: Fundamentals for rehabilitation. . 4 ed. St. Louis: Elsevier Saunders; 2013.

7. King LA, Horak FB. Delaying mobility disability in people with parkinson disease using a sensorimotor agility exercise program. Phys Ther. 2009;89(4):384-393.doi:10.2522/ptj.20080214

8. Parkinson’s disease. 2020; https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/parkinsons-disease/symptoms-causes/syc-20376055, 2020.