Health Information



Parkinson's Disease

National Organization for Rare Disorders, Inc.


It is possible that the main title of the report Parkinson's Disease is not the name you expected. Please check the synonyms listing to find the alternate name(s) and disorder subdivision(s) covered by this report.


  • Drug-Induced Parkinsonism
  • Paralysis Agitans
  • Parkinsonism
  • Postencephalitic Parkinsonism
  • Secondary Parkinsonism
  • Shaking Palsy
  • Symptomatic Parkinsonism

Disorder Subdivisions

  • None

General Discussion

Parkinson's disease is a slowly progressive neurologic condition characterized by involuntary trembling (tremor), muscular stiffness or inflexibility (rigidity), slowness of movement and difficulty carrying out voluntary movements. Degenerative changes occur in areas deep within the brain (substantia nigra and other pigmented regions of the brain), causing a decrease in dopamine levels in the brain. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter, which is a chemical that sends a signal in the brain. Parkinsonian symptoms can also develop secondary to hydrocephalus (a condition in which the head is enlarged and areas of the brain accumulate excessive fluids, resulting in an increase in pressure on the brain), head trauma, inflammation of the brain (encephalitis), obstructions (infarcts) or tumors deep within the cerebral hemispheres and the upper brain stem (basal ganglia), or exposure to certain drugs and toxins. Parkinson's disease is slowly progressive and may not become incapacitating for many years.


WE MOVE (Worldwide Education and Awareness for Movement Disorders)

5731 Mosholu Avenue

Bronx, NY 10471


Tel: (347)843-6132

Fax: (718)601-5112



Parkinson's Disease Foundation, Inc.

1359 Broadway

Suite 1509

New York, NY 10018

Tel: (212)923-4700

Fax: (212)923-4778

Tel: (800)457-6676



NIH/National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases

Office of Communications and Government Relations

6610 Rockledge Drive, MSC 6612

Bethesda, MD 20892-6612

Tel: (301)496-5717

Fax: (301)402-3573

Tel: (866)284-4107

TDD: (800)877-8339



NIH/National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke

P.O. Box 5801

Bethesda, MD 20824

Tel: (301)496-5751

Fax: (301)402-2186

Tel: (800)352-9424

TDD: (301)468-5981


Alzheimer's Foundation of America

322 8th Ave, 7th Floor

New York, NY 10001


Tel: (866)232-8484

Fax: (646)638-1546

Tel: (866)232-8484



New Horizons Un-Limited, Inc.

811 East Wisconsin Ave

P.O. Box 510034

Milwaukee, WI 53203


Tel: (414)299-0124

Fax: (414)347-1977



Genetic and Rare Diseases (GARD) Information Center

PO Box 8126

Gaithersburg, MD 20898-8126

Tel: (301)251-4925

Fax: (301)251-4911

Tel: (888)205-2311

TDD: (888)205-3223


Madisons Foundation

PO Box 241956

Los Angeles, CA 90024

Tel: (310)264-0826

Fax: (310)264-4766



National Parkinson Foundation, Inc.

1501 NW 9th Ave/Bob Hope Road

Miami, FL 33136-1494

Tel: (305)243-6666

Fax: (305)243-6073

Tel: (800)327-4545



Child Neurology Foundation

2000 West 98th Street

Bloomington, MN 55431


Tel: (952)641-6100

Fax: (952)881-6276

Tel: (877)263-5430



Northwest Parkinson's Foundation

400 Mercer Street


Seattle, WA 98109

Tel: (206)748-9481

Tel: (877)980-7500



Bachmann-Strauss Dystonia & Parkinson Foundation

551 Fifth Avenue

Suite 520

New York, NY 10176

Tel: (212)682-9900

Fax: (212)682-6156


Movement Disorder Society

555 E. Wells Street

Suite 1100

Milwaukee, WI 53202-3823

Tel: (414)276-2145

Fax: (414)276-3349



For a Complete Report

This is an abstract of a report from the National Organization for Rare Disorders (NORD). A copy of the complete report can be downloaded free from the NORD website for registered users. The complete report contains additional information including symptoms, causes, affected population, related disorders, standard and investigational therapies (if available), and references from medical literature. For a full-text version of this topic, go to and click on Rare Disease Database under "Rare Disease Information".

The information provided in this report is not intended for diagnostic purposes. It is provided for informational purposes only. NORD recommends that affected individuals seek the advice or counsel of their own personal physicians.

It is possible that the title of this topic is not the name you selected. Please check the Synonyms listing to find the alternate name(s) and Disorder Subdivision(s) covered by this report

This disease entry is based upon medical information available through the date at the end of the topic. Since NORD's resources are limited, it is not possible to keep every entry in the Rare Disease Database completely current and accurate. Please check with the agencies listed in the Resources section for the most current information about this disorder.

For additional information and assistance about rare disorders, please contact the National Organization for Rare Disorders at P.O. Box 1968, Danbury, CT 06813-1968; phone (203) 744-0100; web site or email

Last Updated:  4/7/2008

Copyright  1986, 1987, 1988, 1990, 1991, 1992, 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001 National Organization for Rare Disorders, Inc.

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