Bicycle May Speed Up Parkinson's Diagnosis10/07/11
FRIDAY, Oct. 7 (HealthDay News) -- A patient's ability to ride a
bicycle can help doctors determine whether the patient has
Parkinson's disease or atypical parkinsonism, regardless of the
terrain or riding situation, a new study indicates.
Atypical parkinsonism includes disorders that appear similar to
Parkinson's disease but respond differently to treatment. It was
already known that patients with atypical parkinsonism lose the
ability to cycle early in their illness, while Parkinson's patients
can still ride well.
But it wasn't known if this "bicycle sign" was universally
applicable across the varieties of riding environments or
situations in different countries.
In this study, Japanese researchers assessed the reliability of
the "bicycle sign" in their country, which has hilly, narrow roads
crowded with cars. They found that 88.9 percent of Japanese
patients with atypical parkinsonism stopped cycling during the
first few years of their illness, compared with 9.8 percent of
They compared this to the bicycle-friendly Netherlands, where
51.5 percent of patients with atypical parkinsonism stopped cycling
early in their illness. The difference may be due to the fact that
cycling is much more difficult in Japan.
The study was published Oct. 6 in the
Journal of Parkinson's Disease.
"Although bicycling cultures may differ between countries, it is possible that the 'bicycle sign' could contribute to earlier and better differential diagnosis of parkinsonism during the diagnostic interview. When we see patients with parkinsonism without a definitive diagnosis, it is a simple thing to ask the question, 'Can you still ride a bicycle?'" Hideto Miwa, of the neurology department at Wakayama Medical University, said in a journal news release.
The U.S.-based National Parkinson Foundation outlines the
different types of
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