Parkinson’s disease: Experts Develop New Tool to Diagnose

brainExperts of the International Parkinson and Movement Disorder Society (MDS) have developed a new tool to diagnose and treat Parkinson’s disease, especially during the early stages, said a paper published in the journal Movement Disorders.

Parkinson’s disease (PD) is a neurological condition related to the death of specific brain cells that control movement, mood, sleep and cognition. The symptoms, which include tremors, slowness of movement, stiffness or rigidity, sleep disorders, loss of the sense of smell, depression, and cognitive dysfunction, can appear in people as young as in their thirties, but more evident around the age of 60. It is estimated that the disease touches more than one in 50 people among those 60 or above.

Currently, diagnosis of PD is based on neurological examination but the symptoms of PD often resemble those of other neurological disorders and the rate of misdiagnosis is as high as 25 per cent, which causes distress in patients.

The new criteria was developed based on data from movement disorder experts around the world and is the first ever developed for the disease, especially in the early stages.

“In light of the latest scientific insights and technological advances, we were able to establish a new list of criteria based on expert clinical diagnosis,” says Dr. Ron Postuma, co-Chair of the MDS task force, who is also a researcher in neurosciences at the Research Institute of the McGill University Health Centre and at The Neuro, and associate professor in the Department of Neurology and Neurosurgery at McGill University.

The research team is proposing a new stage classification of the disorder with the aim of focusing attention on the early stages of PD.

An estimated 100,000 Canadians live with PD. Although some drugs and clinical treatments can help control or minimize symptoms, there is currently no cure.

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