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March 2015

All My Husband Needed Was a Good Physical Examination

Author Affiliations
  • 1Intersocietal Accreditation Commission, Ellicott City, Maryland
JAMA Intern Med. 2015;175(3):340. doi:10.1001/jamainternmed.2014.7183

My husband had been experiencing tremor in his hands for approximately 2 years. He is 69 years old, had worked for many years for a telecommunications company, and is now retired. The tremors come and go unexpectedly. One night they flared up when he was carving a ham. Sometimes he needed 2 hands to hold a cup of coffee in the morning, and the tremors show up when he writes. We were afraid that he had Parkinson disease.

We went to our primary care physician whom we have known for a long time. He ordered a dopamine transporter (DAT) scan at a local hospital. This required injecting a radiopharmaceutical agent in the veins in a procedure called SPECT (single-photon emission computed tomographic) imaging.

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