Getting the Knowledge Glossary

A-B-C of PD – Glossary of Terms

At Spotlight YOPD, we believe that knowledge is power and would like all Parkies to be in a position to make informed decisions as to their health and wellbeing. While a cure may still be proving itself elusive, there is much that the individual can do to manage their own symptoms and improve their quality of life.

We know that one size does not fit all – so urge Parkies to work collaboratively with their neurologist, PD nurses and fellow Parkies to find out what works for them. Ask questions, make notes, keep a diary, track your good days and bad, look for patterns – help find the solutions to your specific problems and manage your PD and your life better.

We want this site to be as user-friendly as possible and have tried to keep to plain English. However, there are some biological and medical terms without a layman’s alternative. We have included them in the glossary below – along with other words that may be relevant to PD.

Remember PD – is a very individual condition – so symptoms listed may not affect everyone diagnosed. Similarly, what works well for one person in managing their symptoms may not work for someone else.

Please email us with suggested addition and/or corrections.

For a website and charity that’s all about Parkies helping themselves, apathy – a side effect of the condition is a tricky non-motor symptom to cover off. In fact, we’re not sure we can be bothered…
Just kidding – apathy is defined as a lack of interest, emotion and motivation. Common in patients with stroke, Parkinson’s disease (PD), traumatic brain injury, Alzheimer’s disease (AD) and depression.
There’s little info out there specific to Young Onset and apathy. It tends to sit alongside fatigue and depression and can be tricky to differentiate. We know PD is caused by reduced dopamine – the chemical that makes us strive to achieve.
Also known as ‘Eggplant’, it is part of the ‘nightshade’ family – along with potatoes, peppers and tomatoes – and contains nicotine, thought to be beneficial in alleviating PD symptoms. A Mediterranean diet featuring these vegetables is similarly thought to have a positive effect. However, method of storage, cooking and other factors can hugely impact on their nicotine content.

Science bites are fascinating, but they require a basic knowledge of chemistry and biology to understand how and why R&D (Research & Development) is important to us. Whether is cellular, genetic, microbiological or chemical; we need to know how things work to really grasp it.

All living things are made of cells. For us humans it takes 10 trillion cells to make a working body. They come in a variety of sizes and shapes but it comes down to only really two main types: eukaryotic cells and prokaryotic cells. While prokaryotic are much smaller, there are about 10 to 20 times more of them than eukaryotic cells.

Bacteria are prokaryotic single-celled organisms – good and bad – making us veritable petri-dishes of ‘germs’.Like eukaryotic cells, prokaryotic cells contain DNA, but not in a true nucleus. We cannot live without bacteria.

Eukaryotic Cell Structure

Ribosome (little dots)
Rough endoplasmic reticulum
Golgi apparatus (or “Golgi body”)
Smooth endoplasmic reticulum
Cell membrane*fluid that contains organelles, comprising the cytoplasm.

Prokaryote Cell Structure

As you can see, prokaryotic cells are a lot simpler than eukaryotic cells.

Generally  considered the bad guy in a PD diet.
Dopamine Agonist
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Recent research has found that estrogens may protect the nigrostriatal dopaminergic pathway affected in PD. A chemical present in both sexes, there have been anecdotal accounts from YOPD women that just prior to and during their monthly period their PD symptoms become more pronounced – which coincides with the natural drop in estrogen.
Levodopa or L-dopa
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One the more bonkers revelations about PD is that smokers don’t tend to get it. This has led to subsequent mixed research into the use of nicotine patches and consumption of vegetables from the nightshade family.
The nightshade family of plants includes tomatoes, potatoes, peppers and aubergines. All contain nicotine and are allegedly beneficial in alleviating PD symptoms.
On-off effect
Side-effect of levodopa. Parkie can suddenly freeze, unable to move – as if switched ‘off’.
PD symptom – repetition of a word or syllable.
PD symptom (and beyond) – Tremor, rigidity, bradykinesia, stooped posture and shuffling gait – all associated with PD but also symptomatic of striatonigral degeneration, and a reversible condition induced by certain drugs (including those used to treat schizophrenia).
Another member of the nightshade family – possibly positive for Parkies.
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Insomnia is often an early symptom pre-diagnosis. Later on the meds can also contribute to sleep problems. The nightmare of a list includes: excessive daytime sleepiness/fatigue, vivid dreams/nightmares, sleep attacks (a sudden involuntary episode of sleep), REM sleep behavior disorder (acting out dreams during sleep), periodic leg movement disorder (PLMD), restless legs syndrome (RLS), sleep apnea, and nocturia (frequent night-time urination).
Another member of the nightshade family – containing nicotine. Unripened green tomatoes contain considerably more than red.



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