New Diagnostic Tool May Help Doctors Spot Parkinson’s Disease

New Diagnostic Tool May Help Doctors Spot Parkinson's Disease
Researchers worked with movement disorder experts to create the criteria, which they hope will make it easier to reduce the 25 percent misdiagnosis rate of Parkinson's disease. Photo by Zerbor/Shutterstock

MONTREAL, Nov. 13 (UPI) — Parkinson’s disease can be particularly hard to diagnose because it requires exams by doctors with expertise in movement disorders and there is no single, simple test for it.

Researchers at McGill University developed a criteria for doctors without expertise in movement disorders to diagnose the disease using a checklist of symptoms, which was published in the journal Movement Disorders.

Parkinson’s affects more than 1 in 50 people above age 30, however symptoms can begin to appear in people in their 30s. Symptoms can include tremors, slowness of movement, stiffness or rigidity, sleep disorders and loss of other cognitive function.

Diagnosis of Parkinson’s is based on the presence of three motor issues: Bradykinesia, slowness of movement that includes progressive hesitation or stopping; rest tremor; and rigidity. The diagnosis includes the presence of Bradykinesia and either tremor or rigidity, if not both. The criteria takes these into consideration in detail, as well as response to drug treatment for some of the symptoms.

Because of the lack of a clear diagnostic test, the symptoms are misdiagnosed as other neurological disorders as often as 25 percent of the time.

“Our aim was to create a benchmark that will systematize the diagnostic process, make it reproducible across centers and that will enable a wider range of non PD-specialized clinicians to provide patients with an accurate diagnosis,” Dr. Ron Postuma, a researcher in neurosciences at McGill University, said in a press release.


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