Wednesday, March 16, 2011

The Difficulty in Getting an Accurate Diagnosis

There are so many syndromes out there with Parkinson-like symptoms, or parkinsonism, that getting an accurate diagnosis can take years.   Parkinsonism is any group of neurological disorders that have symptoms similar to PD - tremor, muscle rigidity, hypokinesia.  Among those are Multiple System Atrophy (MSA), sometimes referred to as Shy-Drager syndrome.  The National Institutes of Health recently published literature based on a study that shows autonomic assessments do not differentiate between PD, MSA, and PSP (progressive supranuclear palsy). 

 Keith's brother has MSA but was originally diagnosed with PD.  He and his family went through hell to get an accurate diagnosis, but even now most people, including some doctors, want to lump his condition in with PD.  Part of MSA is parkinsonism, and much of the treatments are the same, however, the two are different illnesses and should be referred to as such.  At a later date I will post an interview with his wife, but for now, here are some interesting links regarding MSA -

The National Institutes of Health's literature regarding autonomic assessments:

MSA Information:
National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke


The Shy-Drager Syndrome/Multiple System Atrophy Information and Support

Sophie's Search for a Cure DVD (free from the SDS/MSA Support Group)


Michelle said...

I have been getting checked for a year and I am still in the category of parkinsonism while we work through the process. they have been tracking progress and are just about ready to start me on Sinemet. Your blog helped me see that a year might not be all that long in the grand scheme of things. Still, it would be nice to know.

Mary said...


I can be a long, difficult road to a proper diagnosis. Know that you are not alone! Hang in there!

Thanks for taking the time to read my blog! Hope to see more of you. Best of luck!