Thursday, April 28, 2016

Another Parkinson's Disease Quiz! (Originally Appeared as a Post For the Northwest Parkinson's Foundation.)

I just ran across this forerunner of the PD Trivia quiz. I wrote it some time ago for the NWPF, and decided it is worth republishing here. Beware: it has a bit of attitude. But at least it's short.

QUIZ: How well do you know your Parkinson’s Disease?

To complete the quiz, you’ll need a pen, a pencil, or a stick to mark your answers; an encyclopedic knowledge of Parkinson’s disease, or access to a reliable search engine; a dogged perseverance; a sense of humor. Choose as many of the answers as seem true to you.

1.) Among the earliest signs of Parkinson’s Disease are:

A.) A shaking of an extremity that lessens when moving
B.) The sudden appearance of strange new vocabulary, with foreign-sounding words like “Dystonia” and “Festination”
C.) Constipation

(Answer:  C. Constipation. People can have this as a PD symptom a decade before other signs emerge.)

By the time a diagnosis of Parkinson’s Disease is made, a typical Parkinson’s patient:

A.) Has been misdiagnosed with so many other diseases that denial seems not only reasonable, but downright sensible.
B.) Has lost the use of as much as 80% of the cells that make dopamine in the substantia nigra
C.) Is ready to slug their doctor

(Answer: B. Cell loss. This is a tough one, but as only some patients suffer frequent misdiagnoses (as many as 30% of those who don’t see a movement disorders neurologist) and only a few feel like slugging their doctor, I’m sticking with B.

3.) Parkinson’s researchers divide symptoms of the disease into the following categories:

A.) motor and non-motor
B.) serious and frivolous
C.) sinister and hilarious

(Answer: A. Motor and non-motor. Motor symptoms are those like tremor or stiffness that affect movement. Non-motor symptoms involve other aspects such as emotion, with the onset of depression, or cognition, with the loss of ability to cope with complexity. And if you answered B or C, shame on you, cynic.)

4.) The number of people diagnosed with Parkinson’s in the United States is:

A.) Around a million
B.) Way, way too many
C.) Not getting any smaller, that’s for sure.

(Answer A, B, or C. Any of these is a defensible answer. The problem is that with the slipperiness of a PD diagnosis, and the consequent number of misdiagnoses, we really don’t know the exact number. A million seems to be the most common number tossed around in articles on PD. Answer B. way too many, goes without saying. C, not getting any smaller, is unfortunate but true as the baby boom generation is now entering its prime years for diagnosis.

5.) The most effective underutilized measure to cope with Parkinson’s Disease is:

A.) Exercise
B.) Exercise
C.) Exercise

(Answer: You can’t go wrong with exercise. Nutshell version: regular exercise can help with balance, mood, cognition,  and can very likely moderate the progression of the disease. Studies have found that the earlier regular exercise is implemented, the more gradual the patient will decline, compared with those that cannot or will not exercise. Also it is inexpensive, has no side-effects when properly done, and can actually be fun.

BONUS QUESTION: Which of these dictators suffered from Parkinson’s Disease?

A.) Adolph Hitler
B.) Ferdinand Franco
C.) Mao Tse-Tung

(Answer: All three! Maybe the urge to conquer the world should be considered a non-motor symptom of PD.)

Interpreting your score: 4-5 correct: PD Maven, put yourself in charge of your support group. 2-3 correct: PD Journeyman, put yourself in charge of snacks for your support group.  0-1 correct: PD Pre-K, Congratulations, you know as much about PD as the average American! Disagree with an answer or the scoring of questions? Comments are welcome below.