Is there any relationship between Parkinson’s disease and Bipolar disorder?

New Delhi, Dec 24 (IANSlife) Parkinsons disease and bipolar disorders are two ends of the same spectrum. Whereas, Parkinsons disease (PD) is caused by low levels of a neuro-transmitter called dopamine in the brain, bipolar disorder (BD) is due to high levels of the same neurotransmitter.

IANSlife spoke with Dr Madhuri Behari, Professor & Head, Department of Neurology, Fortis Hospital, Vasant Kunj, to find out what the relationship between the two is.

Dr Behari explains that Dopamine is essential for refined motor activities and all symptoms of Parkinson’s disease like tremour, slowness of actions, stiffness of muscles and postural stability are due to decreased levels of dopamine. Dopamine is also known as the happiness hormone and its decreased levels result in depression.

On the other hand, high levels of Dopamine causes symptoms of bipolar state such as manic behaviour (over-activity, not able to sleep, talkativeness, unnecessarily happy, suspicious behaviour, thinking that everyone is talking about them etc.), hallucination and other symptoms.

In India, there is very low awareness about these diseases and because of that there are lots of misunderstandings. The time patient reaches a neurologist the golden time is lost and in most of the cases we become helpless. While Parkinson’s disease is disease of elderly, Bipolar disorder usually occurs in young people. Since, the urban elderly population is living alone, it becomes difficult to track their behaviour for early symptoms of PD or bipolar symptoms due to side effects of high doses of levodopa (medicine given for PD).

It is also noted that in later stages of PD, when the dose of Levodopa or other drugs given to treat PD in high doses as per need of patient, some susceptible people develop mania,

hallucination and psychosis which can be treated by decreasing the dose of medicines and in some cases by doing deep brain stimulation operation. Whereas bipolar disorder can be treated by medicines only.

It is highly recommended that we must pay close attention to elderly people to note occurrence of early symptoms of PD or bipolar symptoms.

Our mind is a machine which realizes that after 40 years of age there is nothing to learn and became stagnant. Constant absence of new learning may lead reduction in levels of certain neurotransmitters, hence it is recommended that we must start learning new brain activities after 40 years of age like learning new language, new hobby etc. to prevent loss of brain functioning or development of memory loss or dementia.

Brain is the most important part of our body which is complex and needs constant activation. While we can exercise our arms, legs, body or neck; similarly brain also needs regular exercise.

–IANS

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