What is Parkinson?
Lack of dopamine is the main factor in the occurrence of this disease which is responsible for the sense of pleasure and good mood also body movements and locomotion.
Dopamine deficiency because of loss in dopamine secreting neurons such as substantia nigra(black substance) pars compacta located in the midbrain is characterized as the second most common brain disorder after Alzheimer’s disease.
What is Dopamine?
Dopamine is a type of neurotransmitter that functions as a chemical messenger in the brain.
Its release from substantia nigra, which contains a high level of dopaminergic neurons in the midbrain, can transfer signals to the other nerve cells in different parts of the brain and promote locomotor and reward-motivated activities.
Thus having an adequate production of dopamine is necessary to prevent some mood and movement problems.
Which are the Main Causes?
Decreased production and release of dopamine due to the destruction of dopaminergic neurons can have a variety of causes:
- first-degree relative
- Exposure to toxins (pesticides)
What are the Symptoms?
Since dopamine plays a crucial role as the main chemical of satisfaction and also regulator of motor behaviors, its absence in Parkinson’s patients is characterized by both motor and non-motor related symptoms.
- Postural instability
- Mood disorders
- Cognitive changes
- Sleep disorders
- Hallucinations and delusions
What are the Treatments?
There is no certain cure for Parkinson’s disease, but it can be alleviated by:
Strong evidence supports using some kinds of medications that can ameliorate motor and non-motor symptoms of Parkinson and slow down the progression of the disease. Levodopa (L-dopa) is a precursor of the neurotransmitter dopamine so it can be the first known drug.
Dopamine agonists (DA) are the other types of medications that activate dopamine receptors such as D1-like and D2-like receptors and increase the effectiveness of dopamine. Also, antidepressants drugs such as MAOIs (Monoamines Oxidase Inhibitors) can be used to relieve mood problems.
In some severe cases, when the medications and other therapies are ineffective and usually in the end stages of the disease, surgery and deep brain stimulation can be the solution for motor control improvement and life expectancy.
- Physical therapy
- Music therapy (MT)
As a new method in the rehabilitation program, active music therapy means utilization of instruments is one of the non-pharmacologic treatments that can improve gate velocity, stride length, maintain balance, and posture. Also, rhythmic movements strongly stimulate the motor function and emotional responses in Parkinson’s patients.
Some studies demonstrate that rhythmic dancing and participating in music therapy programs motivate creativity and elevate the quality of life in the aged people who are dealing with depression and akinesia related to this neurodegenerative disorder.
Music therapy can be beneficial through two mechanisms:
- Auditory Rhythmic Stimulation
- Dopamine releasing
In 1996, MH Thaut; et al studied rhythmic auditory stimulation (RAS) on 15 Parkinson’s cases during three weeks of the home-based gait training program.
They assessed the electromyogram (EMG) patterns and stride parameters before and after training and compared these data with the other two control groups, who did not participate in the gait training program and who participated in an internally self-paced training program.
After three weeks, they illustrated a significant increase in the gait velocity, stride length, and step cadence by 25%, 12%, 5% respectively, in trained subjects more than self-paced participants who increased their velocity by 7% and inactive subjects whose velocity decreased by 7%. Auditory systems through rhythms can improve motor execution.
- Improves synchronization
- Adjustment of muscles to auditory stimuli,
- Facilitates movement coordination , regularization, and may even produce an internal rhythm that persists in the absence of stimuli
Most of the studies demonstrated that MT (music therapy) has beneficial effects for the non-pharmacologic treatment of motor and non-motor symptoms and enhances a patient’s quality of life. The use of music and dance as a therapeutic tool combined with conventional therapies should be taken into account.