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Parkinson's disease: Current and future challenges

Parkinson's disease: Current and future challenges

Neurotoxicology (Little Rock) 23(4-5): 443-450

In 15 years, we will mark the 200th anniversary of the James Parkinson's original description of the disease that now bears his name (An Essay on the Shaking Palsy, Sherwood, Neely and Jones London, 1817). Perhaps, one of the most exciting but daunting questions we face at this moment is whether or not we can unravel the etiology of the disease by that time. If we are to accomplish such an ambitious goal, we must determine the resources that will be required to make it happen, and identify the areas of scientific focus that should receive the greatest attention. One issue that will have great bearing on the allocation of research resources relates to the relative roles of genes versus environment in disease causation. For reasons that will become clear in this article, this has a remained surprisingly controversial area. Ironically, this controversy has even spilled over to the very definition of Parkinson's disease, and even whether or not it should be considered a disease entity. In this article, the enduring "genes versus environment" debate is reviewed, with a goal of putting it into a broader perspective. Issues surrounding disease definition and terminology are also addressed in detail, because of the need to have clarity of thought and vision if research on the cause is to proceed in an orderly (and hopefully expeditious) manner. Finally, issues relating future research directions are summarized, with the goal of identifying the pieces of the Parkinson's puzzle that are going to have to be put together if we are to solve this mysterious disease.

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Accession: 011118036

Download citation: RISBibTeXText

PMID: 12428715

DOI: 10.1016/s0161-813x(02)00098-0

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