Medical history can point to earlier Parkinson’s disease diagnosis

Algorithm could alert doctors to evaluate for the disease Read More

From the WashU Newsroom…

Before symptoms become pronounced, there is no reliable way to identify who is on track to develop Parkinson’s disease, a debilitating movement disorder characterized by tremors, slowness of movement, stiffness, and difficulty with balance and coordination.

But researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis have analyzed Medicare claims data of more than 200,000 people to develop an algorithm to predict whether a patient one day will be diagnosed with Parkinson’s. The algorithm relies on information in patients’ medical records, such as tests and diagnoses of various medical conditions.

“Using this algorithm, electronic medical records could be scanned and physicians could be alerted to the potential that their patients may need to be evaluated for Parkinson’s disease,” said Brad A. Racette, MD, the Robert Allan Finke Professor of Neurology and the study’s senior author. “One of the most interesting findings is that people who are going to develop Parkinson’s have medical histories that are notably different from those who don’t develop the disease. This suggests there are lifelong differences that may permit identification of those likely to develop the disease decades before onset.”

The study is available online in the journal Neurology.

An estimated 1 million people in the United States live with Parkinson’s disease, a chronic and progressive neurological disorder.

Recognizing that the mild but worsening symptoms in the years before diagnosis might be reflected in a signature pattern of various diagnoses and tests, Racette and colleagues analyzed de-identified medical claims data for Medicare beneficiaries nationwide, ages 66 to 90.

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Posted on September 15, 2017
Posted in: Neurogenetics & Transcriptomics, News Authors: