Atypical Parkinson Disorders

Atypical Parkinsonism disorders are a group of diseases linked to a lack of dopamine in the brain. Dopamine controls movement. There is no ideal way to define and distinguish Parkinson's disease from other parkinsonian syndromes.

While Parkinson’s is the most common Parkinsonism, approximately 20 percent*  of people will be diagnosed with another Parkinson’s – like condition. These conditions are often difficult to differentiate from Parkinson's disease and each other. They include multiple system atrophy (MSA), progressive supranuclear palsy (PSP), corticobasal degeneration (CBD) and Dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB). Dystonia is not a related condition; but some people living with Parkinson’s may have dystonia as a symptom of Parkinson’s disease.

Ideally, people suspected of having Parkinson's disease or a related movement disorder, should be referred to a specialized movement disorders clinic or center for evaluation. For more information please call 1 (800) 565-3000.

* Practice Parameter: Diagnosis and Prognosis of new Onset Parkinson Disease, American Academy of Neurology, 2006.

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