July 15, 2009

Early diagnosis of Parkinson's Disease: can we talk about it or are we just creating false expectations?

Some Tweets on Parkinson's Disease caught my attention:

  1. Groninger Neurologen
    Gron_Neurologen Parkinson's Disease: Novel Drug Discovery Tool Could Identify Promising New Therapies http://twurl.nl/n7isha
  2. Groninger Neurologen
    Gron_Neurologen Link Between Pesticide Levels In Blood And Parkinson's Disease http://twurl.nl/lj6tfd
  3. Groninger Neurologen
    Gron_Neurologen Aiming For Early Diagnosis For ADHD And Parkinson's Disease http://twurl.nl/23iyjg
-- this quote was brought to you by quoteurl

In particular I read the Aiming For Early Diagnosis For ADHD And Parkinson's Disease article which describes roughly an eye movement test developed at Queen's University.

What puzzles me is this conclusion:

Introducing the tests in clinics as part of regular health exams could result in earlier diagnosis of Parkinson's, allowing the disease progression to be controlled with diet and medication, Dr. Munoz adds.

Treatment of symptoms, which can be effectively pursued in PD, is very different from altering the progression of the disease. I knew there was no evidence, or at least just some very preliminary data, on "neuroprotective" agents.

What would be the evidence based treatment that alters disease progression in PD?

If there is no clinically available treatment that works on slowing down the progression of PD, I think there is no need to talk about "early diagnosis". That would just create false expectations and an anticipation of a diagnosis, with all a family situation and anxiety that comes with it, with no real benefit to the patient.

I hope to get some opinions and scientific reference on this topic. Thanks.