Health Discoveries in Movement Disorders, Parkinsons etc

Irregular arm swing seen as early warning of Parkinsons disease

December 29, 2009
An irregular arm swing, in which one arm swings much less than the other as a person walks, could be an early sign of Parkinson's disease, neurology researchers at the Penn State Hershey College of Medicine have learned.

An irregular arm swing, in which one arm swings much less than the other as a person walks, could be an early sign of Parkinson's disease, neurology researchers at the Penn State Hershey College of Medicine have learned.

Their findings appear in the December issue of Gait and Posture.

Parkinson's disease, marked by impaired movement and slow speech after the loss of brain cells, is often diagnosed by tremors and stiffness in the limbs. "But by the time we diagnose the disease, about 50 to 80 percent of the critical cells called dopamine neurons are already dead," said Xuemei Huang, a Penn State associate professor.

"We know that Parkinson's patients lose their arm swing very early in the disease," she added, "but nobody had looked using a scientifically measured approach to see if the loss was asymmetrical or when this asymmetry first showed up."

The Feinstein Institute for Medical Research, the research arm of the North Shore-LIJ Health System, has numerous neurological clinical trials focusing on Parkinson's disease. One trial is studying the impact of the nutritional supplements folic acid and L-methylfolate on the progression of Parkinson's in patients who have an antibody that affects how folate works on the brain.
ADNFCR-2730-ID-19533008-ADNFCR
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