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Because the loss of dopamine in the brain is the fundamental
problem of Parkinson's disease, treatment is focused on replacing
dopamine to help counter the loss of motor function. Dopamine
loss is not the only mechanism involved; finding other,
still-unknown factors is a major challenge facing researchers.
Until we have the answers, however, drug makers will continue to
design medications aimed at helping the brain replace the missing
When symptoms warrant treatment, your neurologist will consider
several types of medications to reduce tremor and ease movements.
Sinemet is the gold standard of treatment for Parkinson's
disease. Levodopa is an amino acid that the brain converts into
dopamine; it is combined with carbidopa, which does not enter the
brain but blocks the enzyme that converts levodopa into dopamine
in other parts of the body. Thus it essentially keeps levodopa
intact until it reaches the brain. By restricting the release of
dopamine in the stomach, carbidopa greatly decreases some of the
unpleasant side effects associated with levodopa alone, including
nausea and bursts of uncontrollable movements. However, when
Sinemet is taken at high doses, it can also cause nausea. Other
possible side effects include mental confusion, episodes of low
blood pressure, sleep disturbances, and delusions.
Increased intake of vitamin D has been shown to help reduce the
risk of breast cancer, meaning that the recommended daily amount
will likely need to be revised upward.
Those living with Parkinson's disease have a variety of
medications available to them for managing the symptoms, and
research into new avenues of treatment is ongoing.
A study shows that the inflammatory skin condition known as
erosive vulvar lichen planus responds well to treatment with an
ultrapotent corticosteroid cream.
The severely obese, for whom exercise is often not a weight-loss
option, may be most likely to benefit from bariatric surgery. The
most common types are gastric banding and gastric bypass.
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A less invasive treatment option for women with noncancerous
uterine fibroids, previously offered to only younger women, has
been shown to be effective in postmenopausal women as well.