-- Robert Preidt
THURSDAY, Jan. 6 (HealthDay News) -- The ability to ride a
bicycle can determine whether a patient has atypical or "regular"
Parkinson's disease, according to researchers in the
Dr. Bastiaan R. Bloem and colleagues used brain imaging and
other tests to assess 45 patients with Parkinson's disease and 66
with atypical Parkinsonism. The patients were also asked if they
could still ride a bicycle. Only two (4 percent) of those with
regular Parkinson's said they could no longer ride, compared with
34 (52 percent) of those with atypical Parkinsonism.
The researchers found that asking patients if they could still
ride a bike had better diagnostic value than the tests. This
suggests that asking about bike-riding could save money and reduce
the burden for patients, said the researchers at the Parkinson
The research is described in a letter published in the Jan. 7
"Cycling requires a highly coordinated interplay between balance, coordination, and rhythmic pedaling of the legs," they wrote in a journal news release. "This skilled task is probably sensitive to subtle problems with balance or coordination, caused by the more extensive extranigral pathology in atypical Parkinsonism. Simply asking about cycling abilities could be added to the list of red flags that can assist clinicians in their early differential diagnosis of Parkinsonism."
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