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PD: Webinar

     This question came up on a recent Webinar conducted by Nenad and PPP:  Is small handwriting a way of diagnosing Parkinson’s Disease?  Well, it was an interesting observation made by Mr. Cohen, a handwriting expert, because micrographia (small or minute handwriting) is a very common sign in PD.  According to Parkinson’s News Today, over 65% of patients diagnosed with the disease exhibit this condition.  However, it must be said, that having this one sign does not constitute sufficient grounds for making the diagnosis.  In medical parlance, micro writing is not pathognomonic for PD.  (An example of a pathognomonic disease is measles.  If you have Koplik spots – little white spots on the insides of your cheeks – than you have measles. There is no equivalent sign in PD.)

     The cardinal signs for Parkinson’s include tremor, bradykinesia, stiffness and postural instability.  Not everyone with PD has all of these and, of course, the severity of each can vary tremendously from patient to patient.  Additionally, there are a host of other non-movement signs and symptoms which can manifest, making  each patient almost unique in his/her presentation.  Just as there are “Eight million stories in the Naked City,” everyone with Parkinson’s is different.

     Unfortunately, there is no one particular  laboratory test for Parkinson’s Disease.  A neurological exam and a thorough review of each person’s history must be conducted by a physician in order to come up with a reliable and accurate diagnosis.   A.D.

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