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Tests and diagnosis for Parkinson' disease

No definitive tests exist for Parkinson's disease, so it can be difficult to diagnose, especially in the early stages. And parkinsonism' the symptoms of Parkinson's disease' can be caused by many other types of problems. For example, other neurological disorders, toxins, head trauma and even some medications, such as chlorpromazine (Thorazine), prochlorperazine (Compazine) or metoclopramide (Reglan)' can cause parkinsonism.

A diagnosis of Parkinson's disease is based on your medical history and a neurological examination:

1. Medical history. As part of your medical history, your doctor will want to know about any medications you take and whether you have a family history of Parkinson's.

2. Neurological exam. This examination includes an evaluation of your walking and coordination, as well as some simple hand tasks.

A diagnosis of Parkinson's is most likely if you have:

1. At least two of the three cardinal Parkinson's signs and symptoms' tremor, slowing of motion and muscle rigidity

2. Onset of symptoms on only one side of the body

3. Tremor more pronounced at rest, for example, when your hands are resting in your lap

4. Significant improvement with levodopa, a Parkinson's drug

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