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New Parkinson Disease Guidelines Released

Author says guidelines will allow for earlier, more accurate diagnosis and better treatment

MONDAY, April 3 (HealthDay News) -- New guidelines will assist physicians in the diagnosis and treatment of Parkinson disease, according to research released Monday at the annual meeting of the American Academy of Neurology in San Diego.

"The guidelines provide recommendations for making the correct diagnosis as early as possible, making the best use of time-tested and effective therapies to improve motor function, and screening for and treating depression, psychosis and dementia -- common symptoms of Parkinson disease that often are left untreated," guideline author William J. Weiner, M.D., of the University of Maryland School of Medicine in Baltimore, said in a statement.

To help treat the motor symptoms of Parkinson disease, the guidelines present evidence to support the use of medical therapy, surgeries, regular exercise and physical and speech therapy. For example, levodopa is a safe and effective treatment that does not speed up disease progression. New research also shows that nutritional supplements, including vitamin E, are ineffective in slowing the progress or improving symptoms of Parkinson disease.

In addition, Parkinson patients should be screened for depression, psychosis and dementia. "Many people just assume that depression, hallucinations and memory loss are inevitable side effects of Parkinson disease and don't even discuss them with their neurologist," Weiner said.

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