Loss of Cycling Ability A Red Flag for Atypical Parkinson’s

Also knows as Parkinsonism, Parkinson’s Syndrome or Secondary Parkinson’s – Atypical Parkinson’s is a neurological syndrome characterized by tremor, hypokinesia, rigidity, and postural instability. While the underlying causes are numerous, and diagnosis can be complex since Parkinson’s disease has many similar symptoms, researchers in the Netherlands have concluded that determining a patient’s bike-riding ability served as a better diagnostic tool than brain imaging  and other tests. Upon assessing 45 patients with Parkinson’s disease and 66 with atypical Parkinson’s, only 4 percent of those with regular Parkinson’s said they could no longer ride, compared  to 52 percent of those with atypical Parkinson’s.

In a recent news release, researchers wrote that “Cycling requires a highly coordinated interplay between balance, coordination, and rhythmic pedaling of the legs. This skilled task is probably sensitive to subtle problems with balance or coordination, caused by the more extensive extranigral pathology in atypical Parkinsonism. Simply asking about cycling abilities could be added to the list of red flags that can assist clinicians in their early differential diagnosis of Parkinsonism.”

11. January 2011 by Chumie Drillick
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