Exploring the Myths about Parkinson’s Disease
This chapter addresses nine myths about Parkinson's disease (PD). Among these are the myths that PD is a movement disorder characterized by the classic triad of akinesia, rigidity, and tremor; that first symptoms appear in the patient's 60s; and that clinical diagnosis is simple. It argues that the symptoms of PD are often hidden in plain sight because we have become accustomed to think of this disease in certain slightly calcified ways. However, pathophysiological and therapeutic progress constantly challenges our understanding of PD and, ultimately, the approach to patient diagnosis and care. Although PD remains the paradigmatic dopaminergic disease, we now appreciate that it is a multisystem brain disorder. More importantly, understanding PD—and other chronic neurodegenerative disorders—depends heavily on a precise semiologic analysis of each individual patient. Semiology, then, is the key to understanding brain function and dysfunction.
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