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Parkinson's disease is a chronic, progressive brain and nerve disease that affects a small area of nerve cells (neurons) in an area of the brain known as the substantia nigra. These cells normally produce dopamine, a chemical (neurotransmitter) that transmits signals between areas in the brain. These signals, when working normally, coordinate smooth and balanced muscle movement. Parkinson's disease however causes the neurons in the substantia nigra to die, leading to a lack of dopamine in the brain. The loss of dopamine makes nerve cells fire out of control, causing people to lose the ability to control their body movements normally.
To date, there is no known prevention or cure for Parkinson's disease. But, there are several treatment options, including drug therapy and/or surgery that can reduce the symptoms, and make living with the disease easier.