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Parkinson’s disease (PD) is a chronic and progressive disease of the central nervous system. The disease is sometimes called idiopathic Parkinson’s, because the exact cause is not known. Many Parkinson’s symptoms are believed to result from a loss of neurons that produce dopamine, one of the brain’s chemical messengers. Without enough dopamine, the neurons (nerve cells in the brain) that control movement can’t function properly. This makes it difficult for people with Parkinson’s to move normally.
In 2005, more than 4 million people were living with Parkinson’s disease worldwide. This figure is expected to at least double by 2030. In the United States, 50,000 – 60,000 new cases of Parkinson’s disease are diagnosed each year.