Dopamine is a brain chemical called a neurotransmitter that
carries signals between nerve cells and helps the brain perform critical
functions. Dopamine helps the brain control motor functions and movement and
possibly to perform other functions related to mood.
An imbalance or shortage of dopamine can cause brain dysfunction
and disease. For example, in Parkinson's disease, underproduction of dopamine
interferes with the transmission of signals directing movement. This can cause
tremors, or shaking, often in a hand, arm, or leg as well as slow, limited
movement (bradykinesia), especially when the person tries to move from a
Anne C. Poinier, MD - Internal Medicine & G. Frederick Wooten, MD - Neurology
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