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What Is Parkinson’s Disease?
Parkinson’s disease is a fairly common age-related and progressive disease of brain cells (brain disorder) that affect movement, loss of muscle control, and balance. Usually, the first symptoms include a tremor (hand, foot, or leg), also termed a “shaking palsy.”
The majority of people develop Parkinson’s disease after age 60 (although a few patients like Michael J. Fox develop it at an early age of about 30 and boxer Muhammad Ali at age 42). Men are about 1.5 times more likely to develop it than women. In general, the disease slowly progresses with more pronounced symptoms developing over many years. Although a few patients, especially those who develop it in their younger years may have more rapid symptom development, symptoms slowly increase over many years. Treatments may reduce symptoms in many patients.
Three key symptoms that develop early in Parkinson’s disease are a tremor, usually on one side of the body (hand, foot, arm, or other body part) when the person is at rest. The second symptom is rigidity, or resistance to movement when someone tries to move the person’s joint or when the person has difficulty going from a sitting to a standing position. The third symptom is termed bradykinesia, or slowness, and small movements. Bradykinesia is seen in people that have small handwriting (micrographia) and decreased facial expression (the person often only has a somber or serious expression under most circumstances). This condition is termed a “masked face.”
The tremors of Parkinson’s disease usually occur first in a single extremity body part (finger, hand, foot) that is at rest in about 70% of patients; the tremor usually stops when the body part is in use by the person. The tremor is fast (4 to 6 cycles per second that shakes rhythmically). Some people will exhibit a fast “pill rolling” action that is a tremor between the thumb and index finger.
As stated above, bradykinesia can be an early symptom of Parkinson’s disease. It is exemplified by slow initial movements, difficulty getting up from a sitting position, involuntarily slowing or stopping while walking, and little or no change in facial expressions that may seem inappropriate to people who do not know that the person has Parkinson’s disease.
As Parkinson’s disease progresses, other symptoms related to muscles and movement may develop. Patients may develop a poor posture (stooped posture) with drooping shoulders, feet shuffling, and the head extended or jutting forward. This often leads to balance problems and falls.
Again, since rigidity is a common symptom, muscle groups in affected extremities don’t relax so crampy pain may occur. One sign of Parkinson’s disease is that one arm may not swing back and forth normally when the person walks.
The following are symptoms that some patient’s with Parkinson’s disease may develop especially as the disease progresses; not every patient will have some or all of these symptoms:
Diagnosis of Parkinson’s disease is best accomplished by a specialist such as a neurologist. Most diagnoses are made presumptively by doctors by confirming most of the early symptoms listed above and by ruling out other conditions that may produce similar symptoms such as a tumor or stroke. The main things the doctor will look for are a tremor at rest and rigidity (involuntary) when the doctor moves the extremities. The doctor will often check your response to an unanticipated pull from behind. The doctor will tell you what will happen and protect you from a fall as he checks your ability to recover your balance.
There is no definitive test for the disease except for a biopsy of specific brain tissue that is only usually done at autopsy. Other tests (CT scan, MRI) may be used to help physicians distinguish between Parkinson’s disease and other medical problems (for example, stroke, brain tumors).
Essential tremors may be confused with the tremors in Parkinson’s disease. However, essential tremors usually affect both extremities (hands) equally and get worse when the hands are used, in contrast to Parkinson’s tremors. Also, Parkinson’s tremors are reduced or temporally stopped with carbidopa-levodopa medication while essential tremors respond to other medications. Parkinson’s disease does not usually occur in multiple family members but essential tremors do and are more common than Parkinson’s tremors.
As stated previously, men are about 1.5 times more likely to develop Parkinson’s disease than women; however, although the majority of all patients that get the disease are over 60, the total chance of getting the disease is about 2% to 4% in this age group. Consequently, the disease is not rare but the chances of someone age 60 or over developing the disease is not high.
Cells in the substantia nigra, a part of the brainstem that controls movement, slow down and then stop producing dopamine as the cells die. Dopamine helps nerve cells communicate about movement; without the dopamine, body commands about normal movement are disrupted resulting in Parkinson’s disease because the brain does not receive the necessary messages about how and when to move. Unfortunately, the ultimate cause of Parkinson’s disease, the reason that the cells in the brainstem become altered and die, is not known but researchers suggest that a combination of both genetic and environmental factors cause about 90% of all Parkinson’s disease.
Parkinson’s disease is usually slowly progressive over time (years). The advancement is assessed by the symptom severity (Hoehn and Yahr Scale) and other measures such as mental function, behavior, mood, motor functions, and the ability to complete daily activities (self-maintenance, independence) as measured by the Unified Parkinson’s Disease Rating Scale. These evaluations give physicians clues as how to best manage and treat the individual.
Levodopa, in the form of carbidopa and levodopa combined in a single tablet, has been the most effective medication to reduce or temporarily stop Parkinson’s disease symptoms. The brain tissue converts this drug to dopamine. However, over time (about 6 years) the symptomatic reduction caused by the drug starts to fade and higher doses and other medications may be added. In addition, side effects of levodopa may develop (nausea, vomiting, mental changes, and involuntary movements), especially with use over years. These side effects can be reduced by slowly increasing the medication dose over time.
Although carbidopa-levodopa is the usual first-choice drug to treat Parkinson’s disease, other drugs that mimic the action of dopamine, termed dopamine agonists, may be used when the effects of carbidopa-levodopa wane. Such drugs as Apokyn, Mirapex, Parlodel, and Requip are used; these drugs have side effects similar to carbidopa-levodopa (for example, nausea, vomiting, and psychosis).
Some drugs are used in combination with carbidopa-levodopa to either inhibit dopamine breakdown by the body or to improve the effectiveness of carbidopa-levodopa. Azilect, Eldepryl,and Zelapar inhibit dopamine breakdown while Entacapone and Tasmar can improve the effect of carbidopa-levodopa.
Another treatment method, usually attempted as effectiveness of medical treatments for Parkinson’s disease wane, is termed deep brain stimulation. The technique involves surgery to implant electrodes deep into the brain in the globus pallidus, thalamus, or the subthalamic nucleus areas. Then electric impulses that stimulate the brain tissue to help overcome tremors, rigidity, and slow movements are given. Impulses are generated by a battery. This surgery is not for every Parkinson’s disease patient; it is done on patients that meet certain criteria. Also, the surgery does not stop other symptoms and does not end the progression of the disease.
Another type of surgery used when symptoms are poorly responsive to medications is brain surgery that either removes or destroys brain tissue. The techniques are termed pallidotomy and subthalamotomy. The techniques usually involve radiofrequency to destroy small areas of brain tissue. Some patient’s symptoms can be reduced by these techniques but they do not reduce all symptoms and some patients suffer complications when brain tissue is irreversibly destroyed. Deep brain stimulation is replacing these treatments.
As is the case for most medical problems, a well-balanced diet usually benefits the patient. Some of the individual symptoms of Parkinson’s disease such as constipation can be treated with a high-fiber diet with increased fluids. Carbidopa-levodopa medication effects can be reduced by proteins in foods, but if the medication is taken with fluid about 30 minutes before a meal, the protein interference can be reduced or eliminated. Some patients may benefit from vitamin and mineral supplements.
Currently, there is nothing that can prevent symptoms of Parkinson’s disease although treatment can reduce symptoms. Statistically, people who drink coffee and smokers have a lower incidence of Parkinson’s disease but they may develop other problems due to these habits (especially smokers). Since researchers speculate that about 90% of Parkinson’s disease is due to a combination of genetic and environmental causes, avoiding certain environmental triggers may prevent some individuals from developing the disease. In addition, researchers are trying to find medications or supplements that can protect the brain cells that produce dopamine.
As mentioned, environmental factors such as exposure to pesticides, herbicides, and other toxins, when exposed to people with genetic susceptibility, may increase the risk of developing Parkinson’s disease. Statistically, people that live in rural areas, drink well water, are exposed to pesticides, herbicides, and pulp mills have a higher risk of developing the disease. In addition, researchers have demonstrated some drug side effects cause Parkinson’s-like symptoms.
A number of studies suggest that exercise helps reduce and delay the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease. Tremor reduction, improved balance, and muscle coordination can be some of the benefits of exercise. Clinicians suggest that consistent exercise about 3 hours per week may provide a reduction in symptoms. Different exercises provide different benefits; exercises like yoga may improve balance while using a treadmill may improve leg strength and weights may help overall extremity strength and balance.
Parkinson’s disease, especially in the more advanced patients, often requires an adjustment in lifestyle. As symptoms progress, anxiety and depression are often experienced by the patient (and often their caregivers). Items in the home such as throw rugs, electrical cords, and slippery tile may need to be removed to reduce the risk of falls. Bathroom modifications such as handles or grab bars may be needed. The diet might need modification if swallowing or constipation becomes a problem. An occupational and speech therapist may help with other problems.
Caregivers can be challenged by the increasing needs of a declining Parkinson’s patient. It is important that caregivers have a good concept of this progressive disease. Support groups (American Parkinson Disease Association, National Parkinson Foundation, and the Parkinson’s Disease Foundation) are available to help caregivers understand the disease process and how to cope with the various problems they face in caring for a Parkinson’s disease patient.
For more information about Parkinson’s Disease, please consider the following:
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Parkinson’s Disease: Symptoms, Causes, Stages, Treatment
Posted: December 6, 2017 at 6:45 pm
The hypothalamus, also known as the “master gland,” is a supervising center in the brain that links the body’s two control systems, the nervous system and the endocrine system, via interaction with the pituitary gland (hypophysis). The hypothalamus (from Greek , “under the thalamus”) is located below the thalamus, just above the brain stem, and occupies the major portion of the ventral region of the brain known as the diencephalon. The hypothalamus is found in all mammalian brains; in humans, it is roughly the size of an almond.
The hypothalamus gland regulates certain metabolic processes and other autonomic activities; it is a control center for functions of the autonomic nervous system. As needed, the hypothalamus synthesizes and secretes neurohormones, often called “releasing hormones,” that control the secretion of hormones from the anterior pituitary gland.
The hypothalamus controls body temperature, hunger, thirst, blood pressure, heartbeat, carbohydrate and fat metabolism, and circadian cycles. Also, among other hormones, it releases gonadotropin releasing hormone (GnRH). The neurons that secrete GnRH are linked to the limbic system, which is primarily involved in the control of emotions and sexual activity. Specific functions are related to particular sections of the hypothalamus called nuclei.
Although the hypothalamus is envisioned as a “master gland,” regulating such aspects as emotions (fear, rage) and sexual behavior, the typical religious conception of human beings is more complicated. Rather than seeing human beings as just a physical entity, governed by physical impulses, most religions depict each person as having a spiritual essence as well as a physical essence. Emotions and sexual activity are understood to be the result of an interaction of the physical (body) component of a human being (in this case, the hypothalamus) and the spiritual component (mind). While damage to the brain will interfere with this relationship, in healthy individuals actions take place based on this reciprocal, give and receive relationship between the spiritual and the physical.
The hypothalamus is a very complex region, and even small nuclei within the hypothalamus are involved in many different functions. The paraventricular nucleus, for instance, contains oxytocin and vasopressin neurons which project to the posterior pituitary, but also contains neurons that regulate adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH) and thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) secretion (which project to the anterior pituitary), gastric reflexes, maternal behavior, blood pressure, food and liquid uptake, immune responses, and temperature.
The hypothalamus coordinates many seasonal and circadian rhythms, complex patterns of neuroendocrine outputs, complex homeostatic mechanisms, and many important stereotyped behaviors. The hypothalamus must therefore respond to many different signals, some of which are generated externally and some internally.
The hypothalamus thus is connected extensively with many parts of the central nervous system, including the brainstem reticular formation and autonomic zones, the limbic forebrain (particularly the amygdala, septum, diagonal band of Broca, and the olfactory bulbs), and the cerebral cortex.
The hypothalamus is responsive to:
Olfactory stimuli are important for reproduction and neuroendocrine function in many species. For instance, if a pregnant mouse is exposed to the urine of a “strange” male during a critical period after coitus, then the pregnancy fails (the Bruce effect). Thus during coitus, a female mouse forms a precise “olfactory memory” of her partner, which persists for several days.
Pheromonal cues aid synchronization of estrus in many species; in women, synchronized menstruation may also arise from pheromonal cues, although the role of pheromones in humans is contended by some.
Peptide hormones have important influences upon the hypothalamus, and to do so they must evade the blood-brain barrier. The hypothalamus is bounded in part by specialized brain regions that lack an effective blood-brain barrier; the capillary endothelium at these sites is fenestrated to allow free passage of even large proteins and other molecules.
Some of these sites are the sites of neurosecretion: The neurohypophysis and the median eminence. However, others are sites at which the brain samples the composition of the blood. Two of these sites, the subfornical organ and the OVLT (organum vasculosum of the lamina terminalis) are so-called circumventricular organs, where neurons are in intimate contact with both blood and cerebrospinal fluid (CSF). These structures are densely vascularized, and contain osmoreceptive and sodium-receptive neurons that regulate fluid uptake (drinking), vasopressin release, sodium excretion, and sodium appetite. They also contain neurons with receptors for angiotensin, atrial natriuretic factor, endothelin, and relaxin, each of which is important in the regulation of fluid and electrolyte balance. Neurons in the OVLT and SFO project to the supraoptic nucleus and paraventricular nucleus, and also to preoptic hypothalamic areas. The circumventricular organs may also be the site of action of interleukins to elicit both fever and ACTH secretion, via effects on paraventricular neurons.
It is not clear how all peptides that influence hypothalamic activity gain the necessary access. In the case of prolactin and leptin, there is evidence of active uptake at the choroid plexus from blood into CSF. Some pituitary hormones have a negative feedback influence upon hypothalamic secretion; for example, growth hormone feeds back on the hypothalamus, but how it enters the brain is not clear. There is also evidence for central actions of prolactin and thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH).
The hypothalamus contains neurons that are sensitive to gonadal steroids and glucocorticoids (the steroid hormones of the adrenal gland, released in response to ACTH). It also contains specialized glucose-sensitive neurons (in the arcuate nucleus and ventromedial hypothalamus), which are important for appetite. The preoptic area contains thermosensitive neurons; these are important for thyrotropin-releasing hormone (TRH) secretion.
The hypothalamus receives many inputs from the brainstem; notably from the nucleus of the solitary tract, the locus coeruleus, and the ventrolateral medulla. Oxytocin secretion in response to suckling or vagino-cervical stimulation is mediated by some of these pathways; vasopressin secretion in response to cardiovascular stimuli arising from chemoreceptors in the carotid sinus and aortic arch, and from low-pressure atrial volume receptors, is mediated by others. In the rat, stimulation of the vagina also causes prolactin secretion, and this results in pseudo-pregnancy following an infertile mating. In the rabbit, coitus elicits reflex ovulation. In the sheep, cervical stimulation in the presence of high levels of estrogen can induce maternal behavior in a virgin ewe. These effects are all mediated by the hypothalamus, and the information is carried mainly by spinal pathways that relay in the brainstem. Stimulation of the nipples stimulates release of oxytocin and prolactin and suppresses the release of luteinizing hormone (LH) and follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH).
Cardiovascular stimuli are carried by the vagus nerve, but the vagus also conveys a variety of visceral information, including, for instance, signals arising from gastric distension to suppress feeding. Again this information reaches the hypothalamus via relays in the brainstem.
The hypothalamic nuclei include the following:
Medial preoptic nucleusSupraoptic nucleusParaventricular nucleusAnterior nucleusSuprachiasmatic nucleus
Lateral preoptic nucleusLateral nucleusPart of supraoptic nucleus
Dorsomedial nucleusVentromedial nucleusArcuate nucleus
Lateral nucleusLateral tuberal nuclei
Mammillary nuclei (part of mammillary bodies)Posterior nucleus
The outputs of the hypothalamus can be divided into two categories: Neural projections and endocrine hormones (Weedman Molavi 1997).
Most fiber systems of the hypothalamus run in two ways (bidirectional).
Most of the hormones generated in the hypothalamus are distributed to the pituitary via the hypophyseal portal system (Bowen 1998).
The primary hypothalamic hormones are:
The extreme lateral part of the ventromedial nucleus of the hypothalamus is responsible for the control of food intake. Stimulation of this area causes increased food intake, while bilateral lesion of this area causes complete cessation of food intake. Medial parts of the nucleus have a controlling effect on the lateral part. Bilateral lesion of the medial part of the ventromedial nucleus causes hyperphagia and obesity of the animal. Further lesion of the lateral part of the ventromedial nucleus in the same animal produces complete cessation of food intake.
There are different hypotheses related to this regulation (Theologides 1976):
Several hypothalamic nuclei are sexually dimorphic. In other words, there are clear differences in both structure and function between males and females.
Some differences are apparent even in gross neuroanatomy: Most notable is the sexually dimorphic nucleus within the preoptic area, which is present only in males. However, most of the differences are subtle changes in the connectivity and chemical sensitivity of particular sets of neurons.
The importance of these changes can be recognized by functional differences between males and females. For instance, the pattern of secretion of growth hormone is sexually dimorphic, and this is one reason why in many species, adult males are much larger than females.
A striking functional dimorphism is in the behavioral responses to ovarian steroids of the adult. Males and females respond differently to ovarian steroids, partly because the expression of estrogen-sensitive neurons in the hypothalamus is sexually dimorphic. In other words, estrogen receptors are expressed in different sets of neurons.
Estrogen and progesterone act by influencing gene expression in particular neurons. To influence gene expression, estrogen binds to an intracellular receptor, and this complex is translocated to the cell nucleus where it interacts with regions of the DNA known as estrogen regulatory elements (EREs). Increased protein synthesis may follow as soon as 30 min later.
Thus, for estrogen to influence the expression of a particular gene in a particular cell, the following must occur:
Male and female brains differ in the distribution of estrogen receptors, and this difference is an irreversible consequence of neonatal steroid exposure. Estrogen receptors (and progesterone receptors) are found mainly in neurons in the anterior and mediobasal hypothalamus, notably:
In neonatal life, gonadal steroids influence the development of the neuroendocrine hypothalamus. For instance, they determine the ability of females to exhibit a normal reproductive cycle, and of males and females to display appropriate reproductive behaviors in adult life.
In primates, the developmental influence of androgens is less clear, and the consequences are less complete. “Tomboyism” in girls might reflect the effects of androgens on the fetal brain, but the sex of rearing during the first 2-3 years is believed by many to be the most important determinant of gender identity, because during this phase either estrogen or testosterone will have permanent effects on either a female or male brain, influencing both heterosexuality and homosexuality.
The paradox is that the masculinizing effects of testosterone are mediated by estrogen. Within the brain, testosterone is aromatized to estradiol, which is the principal active hormone for developmental influences. The human testis secretes high levels of testosterone from about week 8 of fetal life until 5-6 months after birth (a similar perinatal surge in testosterone is observed in many species), a process that appears to underlie the male phenotype. Estrogen from the maternal circulation is relatively ineffective, partly because of the high circulating levels of steroid-binding proteins in pregnancy.
Sex steroids are not the only important influences upon hypothalamic development; stress (positive or negative) in early life determines the capacity of the adult hypothalamus to respond to an acute stressor. Unlike gonadal steroid receptors, glucocorticoid receptors are very widespread throughout the brain; in the paraventricular nucleus, they mediate negative feedback control of corticotropin-releasing hormone (CRF) synthesis and secretion, but elsewhere their role is not well understood.
Studies in female mice have shown that both Supraoptic nucleus (SON) and Paraventricular nucleus (PVN) lose approximately one-third of IGF-1R immunoreactive cells with normal aging. Also, Old caloricly restricted (CR) mice lost higher numbers of IGF-1R non-immunoreactive cells while maintaining similar counts of IGF-1R immunoreactive cells in comparison to Old-Al mice. Consequently, Old-CR mice show a higher percentage of IGF-1R immunoreactive cells reflecting increased hypothalamic sensitivity to IGF-1 in comparison to normally aging mice (Saeed et al. 2007; Yaghmaie et al. 2006; Yaghmaie et al. 2007).
Median sagittal section of brain of human embryo of three months.
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Hypothalamus – New World Encyclopedia
Posted: at 6:45 pm
Last Updated On April 29, 2013 By surekha
Hypothalamus, though small in size, directs and controls range of functions of the body. It is located beneath the thalamus region and is bordered on its side by temporal lobes.
It is that portion of the brain that is responsible for controlling homeostasis (internal balance of the body). It is the center that controls many autonomic functions of the body. It maintains strong connections with endocrine and nervous systems. Hypothalamus is the region that produces many hormones.
Hypothalamus is the part that either stimulates or inhibits bodys vital functions like heart rate and blood pressure. It controls and determines body temperature. This portion of the brain is responsible for causing thirst and maintains electrolyte balance in your body. It controls the glandular secretions of intestine and stomach. It regulates your sleep cycle. It is responsible for controlling motor functions of the body.
Hormones Secreted by Hypothalamus :
Hypothalamus is vital in maintaining the functions of pituitary gland in the brain. Once it receives signal from the nervous system, it secretes neuro-hormones which in turn initiates the secretion of several pituitary hormones like Anti Diuretic hormone ADH, Corticotropin Releasing Hormone CRH, Gonadotrophin Releasing Hormone GnRH, Growth Hormone Releasing and inhibiting GHRH and GHIH, and Prolactin Hormone (releasing and inhibiting).
Thus hypothalamus is responsible for the normal growth and development of the body; it controls various bodily functions including sleep cycles. It is also responsible for invoking various emotional responses.
Hypothalamus Disease :
Any abnormality on the hypothalamus can cause hypothalamus disease and disorder. Very often hard blow or physical injury to the head is the main cause for this disease.
When hypothalamus gets affected it may cause serious problem in appetite and sleep since it regulates the endocrine system of the body.
The region of hypothalamus and pituitary are so close and interconnected that it becomes difficult to diagnose whether particular problem is caused due to problems in pituitary gland or hypothalamus.
Causes of Hypothalamus Disorders :
Excess of iron molecules on the body can cause many diseases on the hypothalamus region. Hypothalamus disorders can be caused due to malnutrition (lack of essential nutrients for the body).
Anorexia nervosa and bilirumia are abnormalities caused due to hypothalamus diseases. They are classified under eating disorders either overeating or eating very less.
Any kind of trauma or injury on the head can cause problems in the functions of hypothalamus.
Brain tumor of any kind can seriously affect the normal functions of hypothalamus.
The signs and symptoms vary widely with the underlying condition that is responsible for the disorder. There can be frequent headaches, dizziness, vision problems and confusion.
Since hypothalamus and pituitary gland are interconnected any abnormality on the hypothalamus can affect the functions of pituitary gland hormones. Hence it can cause constipation, weight loss or gain, hair loss, sexual dysfunction and impotence.
Hypothalamus is responsible for regulating body temperature, any irregularity in this region will reflect in the form of high fever.
Children with hypothalamus disorder can have growth impairment since it controls the release of growth hormones.
Treatment depends on the causative factors and on the severity of symptoms. For people with malnutrition, healthy diet is prescribed. For treating eating disorders like anorexia nervosa counseling therapy and medications are given.
For severe problems like brain tumor or blood clot inside the brain, surgery is done depending on the intensity of damage.
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Hypothalamus – Causes, Symptoms, Treatment, Function …
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Known as the bodys messengers, hormones affect the way the body feels and functions, and are produced by many different parts of the body. The hypothalamus, a part of the brain, is responsible for many hormones. Understanding these “brainy hormones” will help you take control of your body and your health.
The hypothalamus produces hormones that control the production of hormones in the pituitary gland. These two parts of the body work together to tell the other endocrine glands when it is time to release the hormones they are designed to make. Because of this, hypothalamus function is directly related to overall hormone health. If the hypothalamus is damaged due to traumatic brain injury or genetic factors, overall hormonal health will suffer.
The hypothalamus produces seven different hormones:
Each of these hormones must be in careful balance in order for the body to function properly. Too much or too little of any of these will affect the body’s health and well-being. For example, too much of the anti-diuretic hormone can lead to water retention, while levels that are too low can cause dehydration or a drop in blood pressure.
The corticotropin-releasing hormone can lead to problems with acne, diabetes, high blood pressure, osteoporosis, infertility and muscle problems if the body has too much of it. Low levels can cause weight loss, increased skin pigmentation, gastrointestinal distress and low blood pressure.
People struggling with gonadotropin-releasing hormone levels may notice problems with poor bone health or a lack of fertility. Low levels can cause infertility, while high levels can disrupt communication between the hypothalamus and pituitary gland.
The growth-hormone releasing hormone, in high levels, can cause abnormal enlargement of the skull, hands and feet, as well as problems with menstruation or diabetes. Low levels can delay puberty in children or decrease muscle mass in adults. Somatostatin, the growth-hormone-inhibiting hormone, can cause digestive problems, diabetes and gallstones while low levels of this hormone can cause uncontrolled growth hormone secretion, leading to psychological problems.
High levels of oxytocin have been linked to enlarge prostate glands, while low levels can cause breastfeeding difficulties and symptoms of autism or a lack of social development.
Finally, patients with high levels of the thyrotropin-releasing hormone may experience fatigue, depression, weight gain, constipation, dry skin and hair loss. Weight loss, weak muscles, excessive sweating and heavy menstrual flow are symptoms of levels that are too low.
If you suspect that you may have problems with your hypothalamus function, talk to your doctor and endocrinologist about the proper testing, so you can get back to a normal life free from the problems caused by a poorly functioning hypothalamus.
Brainy Hormones of this infographic.
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Hypothalamus Hormones | Function of the Hypothalamus Gland
Posted: at 6:45 pm
Hypothalamic disease is a disorder presenting primarily in the hypothalamus, which may be caused by damage resulting from malnutrition, including anorexia and bulimia eating disorders, genetic disorders, radiation, surgery, head trauma, lesion, tumour or other physical injury to the hypothalamus. The hypothalamus is the control center for several endocrine functions. Endocrine systems controlled by the hypothalamus are regulated by anti-diuretic hormone (ADH), corticotropin-releasing hormone, gonadotropin-releasing hormone, growth hormone-releasing hormone, oxytocin, all of which are secreted by the hypothalamus. Damage to the hypothalamus may impact any of these hormones and the related endocrine systems. Many of these hypothalamic hormones act on the pituitary gland. Hypothalamic disease therefore affects the functioning of the pituitary and the target organs controlled by the pituitary, including the adrenal glands, ovaries and testes, and the thyroid gland.
Numerous dysfunctions manifest as a result of hypothalamic disease. Damage to the hypothalamus may cause disruptions in body temperature regulation, growth, weight, sodium and water balance, milk production, emotions, and sleep cycles.Hypopituitarism, neurogenic diabetes insipidus, tertiary hypothyroidism, and developmental disorders are examples of precipitating conditions caused by hypothalamic disease.
The hypothalamus and pituitary gland are tightly integrated. Damage to the hypothalamus will impact the responsiveness and normal functioning of the pituitary. Hypothalamic disease may cause insufficient or inhibited signalling to the pituitary leading to deficiencies of one or more of the following hormones: thyroid-stimulating hormone, adrenocorticotropic hormone, beta-endorphin, luteinizing hormone, follicle-stimulating hormone, and melanocytestimulating hormones. Treatment for hypopituitarism involves hormone replacement therapy.
Neurogenic diabetes insipidus may occur due to low levels of ADH production from the hypothalamus. Insufficient levels of ADH result in increased thirst and urine output, and prolonged excessive urine excretion increases the risk of dehydration.
The thyroid gland is an auxiliary organ to the hypothalamus-pituitary system. Thyrotropin-releasing hormone (TRH) produced by the hypothalamus signals to the pituitary to release thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH), which then stimulates the thyroid to secrete T4 and T3thyroid hormones. Secondary hypothyroidism occurs when TSH secretion from the pituitary is impaired, whereas tertiary hypothyroidism is the deficiency or inhibition of TRH.
Thyroid hormones are responsible for metabolic activity. Insufficient production of the thyroid hormones result in suppressed metabolic activity and weight gain. Hypothalamic disease may therefore have implications for obesity.
Growth hormone-releasing hormone (GHRH) is another releasing factor secreted by the hypothalamus. GHRH stimulates the pituitary gland to secrete growth hormone (GH), which has various effects on body growth and sexual development. Insufficient GH production may cause poor somatic growth, precocious puberty or gonadotropin deficiency, failure to initiate or complete puberty, and is often associated with rapid weight gain, low T4, and low levels of sex hormones.
Hypothalamic disease – Wikipedia
Posted: at 6:45 pm
What is Hypothalamus – Brief Introduction:
As you can see in the hypothalamus pictures, it measures about the size of an almond or pearl. It is an extremely important part of brain in human beings and other higher animals. Hypothalamus constitutes one of the four major components of diencephalon, while the other three are: thalamus, epithalamus and subthalamus. It is intimately associated with the function of autonomic & endocrine systems, formation of behavioral patterns, temperature control, reproduction, and so on.
With the help of hypophysis (or pituitary gland), the hypothalamus develops a connection between endocrine system and nervous system in the body. A number of medical conditions have been found associated with this part of the interbrain that may arise out of various factors, and include nutritious, infectious, neoplastic and inflammatory disorders that are manifested by severe symptoms in the victim. As these problem areas are located inside the human brain, the diagnosis and treatment is not easy. However, if identified at an early stage, the symptoms can be relieved through medication.
Hypothalamus can be distinguished into three structurally distinct parts, namely, anterior, middle and posterior regions. These regions are alternately known as the supraoptic, tuberal and mammillary, respectively. Some less anatomically distinct areas can also be found in this brain structure. All these parts are collectively responsible for the production of different essential hormones and chemical substances that control and regulate the functioning of various organs in your body.
It is also known as supraoptic region. As the very name suggests, the supraoptic division is located above the optic chiasm where the most prominent nuclei include paraventricular and supraoptic. Other less prominent nuclei are: preoptic, medial preoptic, anterior hypothalamic and suprachiasmatic. These nuclei are collectively involved in the secretion of hormones, including oxytocin, vasopressin (ADH), corticotropin releasing hormone (CRH) and somatostatin. It is this region where some of the important body functions are accomplished, such as circadian rhythms, thermoregulation, panting, sweating and differential development between sexes.
Located at the level of tuber cinereum, the tuberal region is further divided into two parts: medial and lateral. Ventromedial nucleus, the largest and most prominent of the nuclei present in the region, is responsible for shaping and controlling eating habits. Some other functions, like the regulation of blood pressure, heart rate, satiety and gastrointestinal stimulation also fall under the domain of tuberal region.
The posterior component is composed of medial and lateral areas. Medial area contains two types of hypothalamic nuclei: mammillary and posterior. These nuclei control the functions, like memory, blood pressure, shivering, energy balance, feeding, sleep, arousal and learning.
The hypothalamic region in the posterior part of forebrain (diencephalon) initiates, facilitates and accomplishes a number of vital functions in the human body including hunger, circadian cycles, fatigue, sleep, thirst, attachment behaviors and parenting. The neurohormones (chemical substances of the nervous system) secreted by the organ are transferred to the pituitary gland that either inhibit or stimulate its secretary activities. Some of the vital functions of hypothalamus can be summarized as under:
Two important hormones are secreted by the hypothalamic region of the diencephalon, viz. anti-diuretic hormone (ADH or Vasopressin) and oxytocin. Having its role in the regulation of water content in the body, the release of ADH facilitates the absorption of water in the nephrons of kidney. Oxytocin, on the other hand, plays a role in the sexual reproduction in human beings and other mammals, particularly child birth and ejection of milk from mammary glands.
It controls the secretion of hormones from the hypophysis which is an important part of the brain and master secretory organ in your body. Pituitary is associated with the release of eight essential hormones in the body; two of which are synthesized by the hypothalamus, while the remaining six are produced locally. Some of the other endocrine and exocrine functions of hypothalamus include the control of autonomic nervous system, maintenance of homeostasis, balance of emotions, regulation of hunger & thirst and check over the thermostat of the body.
Malnutrition, inflammation, neoplasm, infection or any other condition of this structure not only adversely affects its functions but also causes severe symptoms in the victim. Such signs need to be addressed as soon as possible. Originating from the adjacent structures, like optic chiasm, hypophysis or optic nerves, the benign or malignant tumors spread to affect the organ and lead to hypothalamic neoplasms. The clinical manifestations of the disorder include loss of vision, precocious puberty, macrocephaly and developmental delay. The frequently recommended treatment measures of the tumors include radiations and surgical therapy.
Hypopituitarianism is another ailment of brain in which pituitary gland and hypothalamus are integrated with each other, thus inhibiting the hormonal secretions of hypophysis and disturbing all the vital functions of the body that are regulated by the chemical substances produced therein. In this case, your health care provider may suggest hormonal replacement therapy as the disease results in the hormonal insufficiency in the body.
See the article here:
What is Hypothalamus, Parts of Hypothalamus with Pictures