Parkinson disease

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By Claire Henchcliffe MD DPhil

Parkinson disease is also known as or subsumes Idiopathic parkinsonism, Paralysis agitans, and Shaking palsy. -ed.

Parkinson disease is 1 of the most common movement disorders and can be challenging to diagnose and treat. In this article, the author provides an introduction to its clinical features, etiology, pathophysiology, epidemiology, and differential diagnosis. She reviews current treatment strategies in managing Parkinson disease, including advances in pharmacologic and surgical treatments. Although Parkinson disease is a chronic progressive neurodegenerative disease, using current clinical management strategies patients can attain an improved quality of life with their disease.

Key Points

  • Parkinson disease is a neurodegenerative disorder characterized by motor signs of bradykinesia, rest tremor, and rigidity, which also affects cognition, mood, sleep, and autonomic function.
  • Parkinson disease is diagnosed clinically, although SPECT imaging may be used to aid in diagnosis, and emerging biomarkers provide promise for earlier diagnosis and monitoring disease progression.
  • Multiple genes have been identified that cause Parkinson disease or modify risk, and there is increasing evidence for environmental and dietary factors that increase risk.
  • Treatment with medications and surgery remains symptomatic, but improve quality of life and lifespan.
  • Protective and restorative therapies are under development, but none are currently proven.

In This Article

Historical note and nomenclature
Clinical manifestations
Clinical vignette
Pathogenesis and pathophysiology
Differential diagnosis
Diagnostic workup
Prognosis and complications
References cited