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Home > E. Pathology by systems > Nervous system > Central nervous system > Brain > parkinsonism


Tuesday 14 April 2009

Parkinsonism is a clinical syndrome characterized by diminished facial expression, stooped posture, slowness of voluntary movement, festinating gait (progressively shortened, accelerated steps), rigidity, and a "pill-rolling" tremor.

This type of motor disturbance is seen in a number of conditions that have in common damage to the nigrostriatal dopaminergic system. Parkinsonism may also be induced by drugs that affect this system, particularly dopamine antagonists and toxins.

The principal diseases to be discussed here that involve the nigrostriatal system are as follows:

- Parkinson disease (PD)
- Multiple system atrophy, a disorder that may have parkinsonism as a prominent symptom (clinical presentation as striatonigral degeneration) as well as other symptoms (cerebellar ataxia and autonomic dysfunction)
- Postencephalitic parkinsonism, which was observed in the wake of the influenza pandemic that occurred between 1914 and 1918 and is now vanishingly rare
- Progressive supranuclear palsy (PSP) and corticobasal degeneration (CBD), which are movement disorders that may also exhibit cognitive impairment; they share some pathologic and genetic features with each other and with other tauopathies (frontotemporal dementias).