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Contempo 1998
November 18, 1998

Parkinsonian FeaturesWhen Are They Parkinson Disease?

Author Affiliations

From the Neuropharmacology Unit, Defense and Veteran Head Injury Program, Henry M. Jackson Foundation, and National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Md.


Edited by Thomas C. Jefferson, MD, JAMA Fishbein Fellow.

JAMA. 1998;280(19):1654-1655. doi:10.1001/jama.280.19.1654

Parkinsonian syndromes can be classified into 2 major groups: Parkinson disease (PD) and atypical parkinsonian disorders. Common characteristics include akinesia, expressed as slowness and paucity of movement (eg, decreased arm swing or facial expression) and difficulty in initiating movement, and are associated with rigidity with or without resting tremor. Parkinsonian syndromes frequently occur in the elderly, their prevalence increasing markedly with age (14.9% at the age of 65 to 74 years; 52.4% at the age of 85 years or older).1 The most common parkinsonian syndrome, PD affects approximately one half million Americans. The incidence of PD is about 10 times that of atypical parkinsonian disorders.2,3

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