Making an accurate diagnosis of Parkinson’s, especially in its early stages, is difficult. Usually the diagnosis of Parkinson’s is not made by a family physician. Affected patients seek an additional opinion from a neurologist with experience and specific training in the assessment and treatment of Parkinson’s disease. To diagnose Parkinson’s, the physician takes a careful neurological history and performs an examination. A reliable and easily applicable diagnostic test or marker for PD is not yet available1. The diagnosis is based on the clinical information provided by the person with Parkinson’s and the findings of the neurological examination. In addition the best objective testing for PD consists of specialized brain scanning techniques that can measure the dopamine system and brain metabolism. The main role of additional testing is to exclude other diseases that have similar symptoms like Parkinson’s disease.
1 De Lau et al. Epidemiology of Parkinson’s disease. Lancet Neurol 2006; 5: 525–35