A two part biology assignment on diseases. Part A is discusses the history, causes, symptoms and treatment of Parkinson's disease. Part B is a proposal for counteracting a mad cow's disease epidemic

Essay by pink_sombreroHigh School, 12th gradeA+, August 2004

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Parkinson's disease was named after Scottish physician James Parkinson, who published a description of the condition, An Essay on the Shaking Palsy, in 1817. Parkinson's disease is a degenerative neurological condition that affects more than 30 000 people in Australia (it is the second most common degenerative neurological condition after Alzheimer's disease). Over the last decade, it's been given an especially high profile by celebrities who've been affected by it, like Michael J. Fox, Katherine Hepburn, Muhammad Ali, and Pope John Paul.

Men and women alike are affected. The frequency of the disease is considerably higher in the over-50 age group, even though there is an alarming increase of patients of younger age. One in 10 of people diagnosed are under 40.

There are a number of signs and symptoms related to Parkinson's disease. Sufferers most commonly experience fatigue, shaking or trembling and changes in handwriting, voice and gait during the early stages of the condition.

Difficulties with speech, swallowing and vision may occur in patients with Parkinson's. Sufferers may also experience dizziness/lightheadedness, sexual dysfunction, weightless, constipation and urinary problems. However, these are only secondary symptoms, they do not occur in all patients and are not unique to Parkinson's.

The trademark characteristic of Parkinson's is of course tremors, hence its earlier name of the shaking palsy. Other primary symptoms include rigidity, bradykinesia (slow-movement), balance problems and impairment of posture and gait. Rigidity refers to a tightness or stiffness in muscles, limbs, neck and even the trunk. Bradykinesia is a Greek term meaning "slow-movement" and is a defining feature of Parkinson's. There are a variety of signs and symptoms, including the mask-like expression with decreased eye blinks, slowness in initiating movement, and decrease in fine motor coordination (shown by the inability...