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  • 10/11/2011

Cycling helps Parkinson’s diagnosis


A Japanese study says the ability to ride a bicycle can help doctors determine whether the patient has Parkinson’s disease or atypical Parkinsonism.

Parkinson’s disease is a progressive disorder of the central nervous system which often develops after the age of 50.

The disease which causes tremor and motor difficulty is being triggered by the degeneration of certain brain cells responsible for the production of a chemical called dopamine.

Atypical Parkinsonism includes disorders that appear similar to Parkinson’s disease but respond differently to treatment.

Studies had already showed that people with atypical Parkinsonism lose their ability to ride a bike while Parkinson’s patients keep their skill well. The validity of "bicycle sign," however, was not tested for people living in different environments and countries.

Researchers at the Wakayama Medical University have now assessed the reliability of the "bicycle sign" among a group of elderly people riding in hilly, narrow and busy roads of Japan, HealthDay reported.

According to their findings that appeared in the Journal of Parkinson’s Disease, 88.9 percent of patients with atypical Parkinsonism had stopped bicycling during the time their illness began while only 9.8 percent of those with Parkinson’ s disease ducked the habit.

As bike riding is very common among the Japanese, the ”bicycle sign”‌ can be used as a test to diagnose and differentiate between Parkinson’s and atypical Parkinsonism, the study concluded.

Researchers also compared their results with those of another study in the bicycle-friendly Netherlands, where 51.5 percent of atypical Parkinsonism patients stopped cycling in the early stages of their illness.

Scientists suggested that the difference might be due to the fact that cycling is much more difficult in Japan than on flat and less busy roads of the Netherlands.

"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,”‌ said study author, Hideto Miwa.

Source: presstv.ir

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