Medicine: Relief from Parkinson's

A million or more Americans, most of them over 50, suffer from Parkinson's disease, once generally known as "shaking palsy." The mysterious nerve disorder causes tremors, muscle rigidity, involuntary movements, slurred speech and may eventually disable the victim. Until recently it was virtually untreatable. Last week the U.S. Food and Drug Administration cautiously approved L-dopa, the first drug shown to be effective in a majority of cases of Parkinsonism. As a result, L-dopa, although subject to unprecedented safeguards because of its undesirable side effects, now becomes available for general prescription use.

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