A new tool has been developed that aims to make it easier to diagnose and treat Parkinson's disease.
Working together under the umbrella of the International Parkinson and Movement Disorder Society (MDS), a group of experts have gathered data from around the world to create the most comprehensive diagnostic criteria ever developed for the condition.
It is hoped this will allow for improved diagnosis and treatment of Parkinson's, particularly in the early stages.
Dr Daniela Berg, chair of the MDS task force and associate professor at the University of Tubingen in Germany, stated: "These criteria accent how Parkinson's disease is much more than a simple motor disorder, now incorporating motor and non-motor symptoms, as well as the genetic component in some forms."
Dr Ron Postuma, co-chair of the MDS task force and associate professor in the Department of Neurology and Neurosurgery at McGill University, added: "Our hope is that, as research advances, our understanding of the mechanisms at play in the disorder will enable us to develop therapies and treatments that can be administered early in this process, eventually slowing or stopping the progression of Parkinson's disease altogether."
At present, diagnosis of the condition is only possible through analysing a patient's medical history, as well as a neurological examination by a clinician with expertise in movement disorders. There is currently no objective means of testing for the disease.
The symptoms of the condition closely resemble those seen in other neurological disorders, meaning misdiagnosis can be as high as 25 per cent. This can lead to distress for patients, while also making it difficult for researchers trying to learn more about the condition.
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