Our brain and spinal column are the control center of our body. If these become damaged or altered, it can affect us in a variety of ways. With modern technology, our understanding of these effects is never-ending...

Neurological Degenerative Diseases

Neurological degenerative diseases, also known as neuro-degenerative diseases is a common name used for all disorders that result in the progressive loss in the function or structure of neurons and also includes neuron death. Research that is being carried out in this field is slowly showing that at a sub-cellular level, all neurodegenerative diseases like Parkinson’s Hungtington’s, Alzhiemner’s, etc have several similarities. This is significant since it kindles the hope that any advances in therapy will be able to cure all these diseases simultaneously. The neuronal circuitry at different levels, from systemic to molecular, can have neurodegeneration.

Some of the common neurological degenerative diseases include:

1. Multiple Sclerosis:

This is a neurodegenerative disorder that is caused due to the presence of lesions in the white matter of the CNS or the central nervous system that includes the brain and spinal cord. The white matter consists of oligodendrocytes that surround the axons forming the myelin sheath, a fatty layer that is responsible for signal-transduction. In MS, demyelination occurs as a result of which action potentials are not effectively conducted by the axons.

  • There are more than 400,000 Americans and around 2.5 million people all over the world suffering from this condition.
  • MS occurs 2 or 3 times more in women than in men.
  • MS can never affect two people in the exact same way as it varies in location, severity and timing.
  • The cause for MS is not known yet though studies are being conducted on factors like immune system, viruses, hereditary, etc.
  • The cause for MS is not known yet and currently, infusion therapy is used as treatment.

2. Parkinson’s Disease:

This is the second most common of all the neurological degenerative diseases and it affects over 0.1% of the total American population.

  • It is chronic and is characterized by stiffness or rigidity, tremors, balance difficulties and bradykinesia of slow limb movement.
  • Both men and women are equally affected by this disease. It is most common in people older than 60 years although those under 40 have also been diagnosed with the condition.
  • The disease has no cure though treatment includes drug therapy to control the symptoms.


3. Huntington’s Disease:

This is an example of genetic neurological degenerative diseases that has a 50% chance of inheritance. However, in about 3% of the cases, no family history of the condition has been found.

  • The disease is characterized by emotional disturbance, involuntary movements and loss of intellectual abilities.
  • The onset age and disease progression rate differs in different people.
  • There is no known cure to the disease and it results in death only. The symptoms can be controlled with drug therapy.

4. Alzhiemer’s Disease:

This is one of the most common neurological degenerative diseases that affects more than 2.5 million people worldwide and is generally diagnosed after the age of 65 although early onset has been seen in rare cases.

  • The disease is incurable and terminal.
  • It affects different people differently though there some common symptoms like mood swings, memory loss, irritability, confusion, aggression, language breakdown and general withdrawal.