Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Parkinson's disease or not: a question of riding a bike

As is well known, Parkinson's disease is characterized by trembling hands, etc. Related to this is Parkisonism (a.k.a. Parkinson's Syndrome), a different kind of disease that should be treated differently.

Because the symptoms are quite similar, so far the correct diagnosis was difficult. But recent work by neurologists in Radboud hospital Nijmegen, has found a remarkable simple remedy, which works well maybe only for The Netherlands (or other countries where people are accustomed to use the bicycle for going around). Simply by asking the question if the patient has recently stopped riding a bike made a big difference; only some 5% of people with Parkinson's Disease did so, while of the patients with Parkinsonism some 50% did.

This simple not only saves thousands of euros of additional tests, but also in many cases can lead to a much faster diagnosis.

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