Autonomic Dysfunction in Parkinson’s Disease

Published on January 19, 2015   67 min
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My name is Ron Pfeiffer. I'm a professor and vice chair of the Department of Neurology at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center in Memphis. I have been interested in treating and performing research on patients with Parkinson's disease for almost 40 years. So it's a real delight today to be able to provide an overview of autonomic dysfunction in Parkinson's disease, which is a subject near and dear to my heart.
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Parkinson's disease traditionally has been considered to be a motor disorder, characterized primarily by tremor, rigidity, and bradykinesia, with the later development of postural instability with balance impairment and falling. However, in the past 20 or more years, it's been increasingly recognized that Parkinson's disease contains much more than just motor dysfunction and that there are a broad array of features of Parkinson's disease that have little or nothing to do with motor function or dysfunction. These so-called nonmotor features include abnormalities of sensation, behavioral changes, sleep disorders, fatigue, and for our purposes today, autonomic dysfunction.