Atypical parkinsonism includes several conditions in which an individual experiences some of the motor signs and symptoms of Parkinson's disease (PD), including tremor, slowness, rigidity (stiffness) and walking/balance problems, but does not have PD. Common atypical parkinsonisms include Progressive Supranuclear Palsy, Corticobasal Degeneration, Multiple System Atrophy and Dementia with Lewy Bodies.
Alex Pantelyat, MD, director of the Johns Hopkins Atypical Parkinsonism Center, spoke to MJFF Contributing Editor Dave Iverson about these conditions and their relation to Parkinson's disease.
"Those symptoms that patients display at Dr. Pantelyat's center . . . may resemble Parkinson's, but how those patients then react to Parkinson's drugs often provides a point of demarcation," said Iverson. "For example, someone who later turns out to have Multiple System Atrophy or Dementia with Lewy Bodies might respond to a standard Parkinson's drug like carbidopa-levodopa initially but it won't be sustained."
Dr. Pantelyat says there's an enormous need for more research into atypical parkinsonisms because they're so frequently misdiagnosed. And because of the similarities between PD and these conditions, research into one can inform the science behind the other.
Hear more from Dr. Pantelyat in our next Third Thursdays Webinar: "What Are the Other Parkinsonisms?" on August 18, 2016, at 12 p.m. ET/9 a.m. PT. Register now.