Parkinson's Disease: A Debate about its Nature & Cause



Our immersive Virtual Parkinson's Lab (LINK) takes several hours of focused engagement to complete. In contrast, this is a single webpage with a dozen of the most important embedded Flash animations together with text that explains most of the scientific content that students will learn from doing the lab. Some teachers will choose to have their students carefully read this page and engage the animations, rather than completing the entire virtual lab. And for those who have completed the lab, this is a convenient summary of much of the key content.

After an introduction to Parkinson's Disease, learn about a mystery surrounding the mechanisms that cause the disease. A patient can lose 80% of the dopamine neurons that control key motor functions before any symptoms are evident. But how is that possible? How does the body compensate for this loss and continue to function normally with only 20% of the original dopamine neurons. Learn about two competing theories that seek to explain how the body "compensates" for the loss of neurons.


Explore Theories that Attempt to Explain Parkinson's Disease
  • Parkinson's Disease: A Debate about its Nature & Cause

    This page has many embedded animations showing in fine detail important behaviors of the neurotransmitter, dopamine, behaviors that are often left out of standard textbooks in biology and psychology. In the process of learning about a key debate over the causal mechanisms at work in Parkinson's, you will also learn about subtle differences in the way neurotransmitters work. Not all neurotransmitters follow the "Classic Model"

    NOTE This page has an audio track of constant white-noise, an artifact from the lab we were unable to remove. We recommend: turn off your speakers. There is no other audio.


For the authors responsible for this module see Virtual Neuroscience Lab #2: Parkinson's Study (LINK)