New insights into the hallucinations of Parkinson’s disease

Amy Norton Health Day Reporter

Monday, May 3, 2021 (HealthDay News)

Parkinson’s disease The disease is widely seen as a movement disorder, which can cause a range of symptoms, including: Hallucinations.. Now, new research reveals what is happening in the brain during these disorders.

Research focused on Parkinson’s disease Patients with so-called presence Hallucinations -The false feeling that someone else is nearby.

Researchers have found that a group of Parkinson’s patients can be hallucinated using a very simple “robot ghost test” with a robotic arm that touches the patient’s back.

This allowed us to map the activity of the brain that seems to be the basis of hallucinations. This includes disconnecting the frontal and part of the temporal lobe of the brain.

Experts said findings-reported in the journal on April 28 Scientific Translation Medicine- It can lead to a better understanding of the hallucinations of Parkinson’s disease.

According to researchers, one of the ultimate hopes is to develop an objective way to diagnose and delve into the hallucinations of individual patients.

Diagnosis now generally relies on patients talking to their doctors about hallucinations-many people are hesitant to do it.

As a result, the problem has not been fully diagnosed, says Fosco Bernasconi, one of the researchers in the study.

“Our robotic procedures provide the opportunity to investigate specific hallucinations in real time in a fully controlled environment and conditions,” said Bernasconi, senior scientist at the Ecole Polytechnique Federal de Lausanne in Geneva. Says.

Parkinson’s disease affects nearly one million people in the United States alone, according to the Parkinson’s Foundation.

It involves an abnormal accumulation of a protein called α-synuclein in the brain.Over time, the brain loses the cells it produces Dopamine, A chemical that helps regulate movement and emotional response.

The most visible symptoms of Parkinson’s disease are associated with exercise-such as: trembling, Problems with limb stiffness and coordination.

“But Parkinson’s disease is complicated, and it’s more than a movement disorder,” said James Beck, chief scientific officer of the nonprofit Parkinson’s Disease Foundation.

According to Beck, the disease is one of the brains, due to memory and thinking problems. depression And anxiety, Speech, visual and olfactory disorders.

Next, there are symptoms of mental illness-Beck said it is a “difficult word” for people to digest. Hallucinations fall into that category, but problems such as presence hallucinations are considered “mild.”

“People are aware that they have them,” Beck said. “They are completely convincing.”

A patient involved in a new study, Joseph Ray of Geneva, began to hallucinate after surgery for Parkinson’s disease. He will have a recurring sensation, either behind him or on his side, that he was accompanied by one or more people.

That said, Ray isn’t bothered by it.

“I call them my guardian angels,” he said. “They don’t hurt me. They’re chasing me. I’m not alone, so I’m relieved in a way.”

Another patient, Maurizio de Revrano, who lives in Martigny, Switzerland, experienced not only visual hallucinations, but also hallucinations that felt like a “ghost of her mother.”

“I see some spiders falling from the ceiling through the corners of my eyes,” he said. “I know they aren’t there, but instinctively, I’m always forced to look around.”

Visual hallucinations are more common in Parkinson’s disease than in the presence type, Beck said. Again, people don’t bother them.

“But it’s still important to let your doctor know about them,” Beck said.

For one thing, he explained, hallucinations may be associated with drug changes in Parkinson’s disease, or interactions between the various drugs the patient is taking.

In such cases, Beck said it might be possible to adjust the drug. There are also two DrugClozapine Pimavanserin, which can be prescribed to relieve hallucinations, he said.

The new study involved 26 Parkinson’s disease patients who underwent robot testing. Each patient was asked to make repeated “poke” gestures while the robotic arm mimicked the gestures on the patient’s back. Sometimes humans and robots were out of sync with their gestures-and it could trigger the hallucinations of existence that researchers discovered.

This phenomenon also occurred in patients who did not experience hallucinations in their daily lives, but became more severe in those who did.

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In a separate study of 30 additional patients and a group of healthy adults, Bernasconi’s team MRI Scan to see how patterns of brain activity relate to the presence of hallucinations.

“Hopefully, this will allow more research to better understand these hallucinations, and will probably lead to new treatments,” Beck said.

Hallucinations can signal more severe psychotic symptoms, including: Delusion -Where people believe that it is not true.

Therefore, it is important to get rid of the “stigma” around hallucinations, Beck said, and patients and doctors talk about them.

For more information

The Parkinson’s Foundation Psychotic symptoms..

Source: Fosco Bernasconi, PhD, Senior Scientist, École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne, Geneva, Switzerland. Dr. James Beck, Senior Vice President and Chief Scientific Officer of the Parkinson’s Foundation, New York City. Scientific translation medicine, April 28, 2021, online

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New insights into the hallucinations of Parkinson’s disease

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