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Difference Between Alzheimer’s Disease and Parkinson’s Disease

Alzheimer’s Disease vs Parkinson’s Disease

Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease are both degenerative brain diseases. However, they differ in their symptoms, biological and physical manifestations (pathophysiology), causes, and treatment.

Alzheimer’s disease is a form of dementia that’s more directly related with a person’s age. The primary pathophysiology of Alzheimer’s disease observes nerve cell deterioration which is demonstrated as an increased loss of coherence and a progressive loss of ability to conduct normal activities of daily living.

From a biochemical perspective, Alzheimer’s disease is caused by the lack of acetylcholine, which is a neurotransmitter in both the peripheral nervous system (PNS) and central nervous system (CNS). Anatomically, portions of the brain such as the temporal lobe, parietal lobe, and frontal cortex are affected.

There is little known treatment for Alzheimer’s disease, though research indicates that acetylcholinesterase inhibitors can slow the progression of the disease once a positive diagnosis has been established. Studies for prevention suggest that performing simple mental exercises such as reading and maintaining regular mentally stimulating activity reduces the chance of acquiring the disease.

Parkinson’s disease is a degenerative brain disease that is believed to be caused by a prolonged decrease of dopamine, the absence of which inhibits normal neural impulses in the brain. Over time, extrapyramidal movements such as tremors, an inability to swallow, stuttered speech, impaired or involuntary body movements, and akinesia’ā€¯muscle rigidity affecting the muscles in the face are demonstrated. During the latter part of the disease, mental deterioration occurs.

Parkinson’s disease can be traced to gender and genetics, as most people afflicted are men who have a family history of the disease. It has also been determined that Parkinson’s disease may be caused by consecutive concussions, as in the case of the former heavyweight boxing champion, Mohammed Ali.

Treatment for Parkinson’s disease involves dopamine precursors and agonists to increase the presence of dopamine.

Summary:

  1. Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s diseases are both degenerative brain diseases.
  2. Parkinson’s disease is believed to be caused by the decrease of dopamine in the brain, while Alzheimer’s disease is associated with the lack of acetylcholine.
  3. Alzheimer’s disease is treated with acetylcholinesterase inhibitors and can be prevented by engaging in mentally stimulating activities while the treatment of Parkinson’s disease is ongoing dopamine precursor and agonist therapies. Prevention of Parkinson’s disease may include avoiding multiple concussions.
  4. Parkinson’s disease is associated with extrapyramidal symptoms while Alzheimer’s disease is associated with the continuous loss of ability to think cognitively which progresses until the person is no longer able to practice normal daily activities.

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