De Novo Parkinson’s Disease: Diagnosis and Treatment
By Oksana Suchowersky, MD,
Department Head, Medical Genetics, University of Calgary
The De Novo Parkinson Diagnosis and Treatment course, which was held September 13, 2008 in San Francisco, addressed the issues of diagnosis and treatment of patients with new onset Parkinson’s disease. As Parkinson’s disease can be difficult to diagnose in the early stages, the morning was aimed at describing features that are helpful to differentiate PD from other Parkinsonian syndromes. Clinical features that predicted faster rate of progression were also discussed. The afternoon concentrated on therapy, discussing symptomatic treatments, neuroprotective therapies and non-pharmacological management. The course was designed to be in a discussion format with active participation of all attendees. Videos were used throughout the course to highlight clinical features.
The audience consisted of fellows, students, geriatricians, and neurologists. The majority of the attendees were from the local Bay area. The course was videotaped and will be available via Webcast through The Movement Disorder Society.
The course began with Dr. Reich presenting the pearls and pitfalls related to clinical diagnosis of PD. This was accompanied by a number of videotapes highlighting the differential diagnosis. Dr. Joel Perlmutter then discussed the role of diagnostic testing PD. This was followed by an interactive discussion with respect to diagnosing cases of PD. Dr. Bill Weiner discussed the use of symptomatic strategies. It was highlighted that levadopa is not neurotoxic and does not result in disease progression.
The afternoon consisted of discussion on predictors of disease progression of PD. This was presented by Dr. Suchowersky, as Dr. Zesiewicz could not attend due to closure of airports due to a hurricane. Dr. Gronseth presented a talk on the use of practice parameters and evidence based medicine as related to choosing treatment options. Dr. Suchowersky finished the formal presentations by discussing the use of alternative therapies. The course ended with a case discussion related to initiation of treatment in PD patients.