8B. Parkinson’s disease

Page created on June 3, 2021. Last updated on December 6, 2021 at 11:17

Definition and epidemiology

Parkinsonism is the clinical triad of bradykinesia, resting tremor, and rigidity. Parkinson disease (PD) is the idiopathic cause of parkinsonism when a person has parkinsonism without an underlying cause.

Etiology of parkinsonism

  • Parkinson disease
  • Drug-induced (antipsychotics)
  • Parkinson-plus syndromes
    • Multiple system atrophy
    • Lewy body dementia
    • Corticobasal degeneration
    • Progressive supranuclear palsy


There is idiopathic progressive degeneration of dopaminergic neurons in the substantia nigra, which leads to a dopamine deficiency in the CNS.

Clinical features

In Parkinson disease the symptoms are asymmetric. They have symptoms of parkinsonism, including bradykinesia, resting tremor, and rigidity, but also symptoms like hypokinetic gait, small handwriting, and postural instability.

Diagnosis and evaluation

Diagnosis is based on typical clinical features as well as ruling out secondary causes of parkinsonism with the help of MRI or scintigraphy.

Differential diagnosis

The other causes of parkinsonism have symmetric symptoms, as opposed to PD. Like the name implies, Parkinson-plus syndromes have other neurological symptoms which differentiate them. For example, Lewy body dementia has dementia and visual hallucinations, multiple system atrophy has cerebellar symptoms, etc.


The best treatment for Parkinson disease is levodopa plus carbidopa or benserazide. Other options include dopamine agonists, COMT inhibitors, MAO-B inhibitors, levodopa-carbidopa intestinal gel infusion (LCIG), and deep brain stimulation of subthalamic nuclei.

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8A. Gliomas (and brain tumours in general)

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9A. Peripheral facial palsy (Bell-paresis)

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Neurology 2

2 thoughts on “8B. Parkinson’s disease”

  1. Szia, Nik

    Long time, no see
    Just wanted to give a quick notice about the treatment being dopamine agonist, instead of antagonist.


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