e. Preventive Measures for Poliomyelitis. Preventive treatment is done by
means of the Salk vaccine or the Sabin vaccine. The Salk vaccine consists of the killed
virus while the Sabin vaccine uses attenuated (weakened) live viruses.
PARKINSONISM (PARKINSON'S DISEASE)
a. Definition of Parkinsonism. This is a chronic, progressive degenerative
disease of the nervous system. The disease progresses for a number of years after
which the person succumbs to an illness such as aspiration pneumonia or some other
infection. Today, this disease is a common crippling disease in the United States and
affects more men than women.
b. Cause of Parkinsonism. The disease affects the balance coordinating the
extrapyramidal tract which is located at the idiopathic basal ganglia. Possible causes
include atherosclerosis (a form of arteriosclerosis), head trauma, carbon dioxide or
metal poisoning, a large dose of tranquilizers, or brain tumors which cause midbrain
c. Signs/Symptoms of Parkinsonism. The signs and symptoms of this
disease begin slowly. The basic symptoms are muscle rigidity, akinesia or dyskinesia
(slowness of automatic movements), and a tremor that begins in the fingers. This
tremor increases with stress or anxiety and decreases when the patient moves
deliberately and after sleep. Other signs and symptoms include the following:
Impaired locomotion with stiffness, dragging of one foot, and shuffling
Stiff, mask-like facial appearance.
(3) Impaired autonomic function such as constipation, incontinence, and
(4) Emotional strain resulting in mood swings. Examples include fear of
being seen in public and quarrelsomeness with family.
d. Treatment for Parkinsonism. Treatment is aimed at relieving the patient's
symptoms and keeping him functional for as long as possible. It is very important to
prevent muscular rigidity. Treatment should include measures to improve the patient's
general health and mild tranquilizers to reduce tremor. Synthetic medications which can
be used include levodopa (L-dopa) and SymmetrelR.
AMYOTROPHIC LATERAL SCLEROSIS (ALS) (Lou Gehrig's disease)
a. Definition of ALS. This disease is the most common of the motor neuron
diseases that cause muscular atrophy (muscle degeneration and loss of function).
Motor neurons in the spinal cord, medulla, and cortex degenerate.