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Wednesday, March 12, 2014
Aunt with Parkinson's
Dear Dr. - My aunt (aged 58) has suffered from "tremors" for a while and has just been diagnosed with Parkinson's disease. We can't remember anyone else in the family with this disease. Could you tell me if it is hereditary? We would also like to know what to expect (i.e. How Parkinson's progresses) Are there any new drugs or treatments of which we should be aware?
Thank you in advance for this information, it will help a lot for us to know more about this condition when she goes back to her doctor next week.
While tremors are one of the most common symptoms of Parkinson's disease, not everyone with tremor has this disease. In fact the most common cause of tremors is essential tremor. While there are families in whom Parkinson's disease runs, it is more often seen without a definite family history. It is a slowly progressive disorder, the natural history of which has been changed dramatically by treatment with levodopa (Sinemet), since 1967. In the last year there have been 3 new medications: Mirapex, Requip and Tasmar approved by the FDA. A new surgical procedure called deep brain stimulation has also been approved for treatment of essential tremor or tremor due to Parkinson's disease.
Arif Dalvi, MD
College of Medicine
University of Cincinnati