joint replacementNew research recently published in the Movement Disorders journal by the International Parkinson and Movement Disorder Society’s (MDS) Task Force on Definition of Parkinson’s Disease outlines newly updated clinical diagnostic criteria for Parkinson’s disease (PD) as well as the first-ever produced criteria for prodromal PD. This research marks a major advancement in the diagnosis and treatment of PD, as well as the quality of future research.

Led by Co-Chairs Daniela Berg and Ron Postuma, the MDS Task Force on Definition of Parkinson’s Disease was established to provide scientists and neurologists with criteria that are in line with the current understanding of the process of neurodegeneration, onset of symptoms and differing phenotypes and genotypes. The Task Force gathered data from movement disorders specialists around the world to create the most comprehensive diagnostic criteria ever developed for the disease.

The Task Force’s new clinical diagnostic criteria will help improve the diagnosis of PD amongst experienced movement disorder specialists, as well as assist healthcare providers who are less familiar with PD in making a more reliable diagnosis.

The new prodromal criteria is the first ever outlined to diagnose patients in the earliest stages of PD, before a full clinical diagnosis is even possible. Furthermore, the prodromal criteria is unique in its design, in that no other criteria used for neurological diseases has used mathematical calculations to estimate the probability that a patient has the disease.
Michael Okun, Neurologist at University of Florida Health and National Medical Director for the National Parkinson Foundation states, “The publication of new diagnostic criteria is important for the entire Parkinson’s disease community. These new criteria will not only simplify the identification of the disease for general practitioners, but these criteria recognize prodromal or pre-manifest Parkinson’s disease symptoms.”

In addition, both the new clinical diagnostic and prodromal criteria will have significant implications for new studies and research in PD. The clinical diagnostic criteria will aid in identifying those who actually have PD, while the prodromal criteria will allow patients to enroll in research trials at the earliest stages of the disease when treatment may be most effective.
Okun adds, “Identification and correct diagnosis of early symptoms of Parkinson’s disease will be important for clinical trials of disease modifying therapies; these new therapies will hopefully be the next leap in treatment.”