Differentiate with Visual Clarity: DaTscan Testing for Parkinson's
According to the Parkinson’s Disease Foundation, approximately 60,000 Americans are diagnosed with Parkinson’s each year, and this number does not reflect the thousands of cases that go undetected. Signs and symptoms of Parkinsonian Syndrome (PS) can be misleading or mimic other conditions, especially during early stage of disease and in the elderly.
Simply having tremors does not mean you have PS. CereScan is now a provider of GE Healthcare’s DaTscanTM procedure, which is a new type of scan recently approved by the FDA.
The DaTscanTM testing for Parkinson’s is done with CereScan’s SPECT imaging camera and provides strong evidence of the presence or absence of PS. There are several other movement disorders that are sometimes confused with PS. DaTscanTM evaluates dopamine levels in your brain and your doctor will use the results in combination with clinical data to generate a more accurate diagnosis.
Early Signs & Symptoms of Parkinson’s Disease
Symptoms of Parkinson’s Disease (PD) can be so subtle in the early stages that they often go unnoticed. There is not one defining symptom of PD, but rather a combination of symptoms, which can include:
- Incessant or intermittent slight shaking or tremors in hand, finger, thumb, chin or lips
- Changes in handwriting, usually starts with writing words with smaller letters and closer together
- Loss sense of smell or trouble smelling certain foods
- Difficulty sleeping
- Stiffness in shoulders or hips
- Muscle tension or tightness in wrist, elbow, hip or knee
- Constipation or straining to move your bowels every day
- Loss of facial expressions
- Dizziness or feeling faint after standing up
- Difficulty with standing straight
- Depression or anxiety symptoms can be mild and easily missed
Symptoms may not always tell the whole story
- Tremors can be caused by medications such as antipsychotics
- Not all patients with a PS present with a tremor
- Rest tremor has been shown to be absent in approximately 23% of patients with PD
- Patients may present with mild or atypical symptoms that do not match a PS diagnostic criteria
- Symptoms can overlap or resemble the symptoms of many different movement disorders
Diagnosing Parkinson's Disease
Parkinson’s disease is a neurodegenerative disorder that afflicts over one million Americans. Historically, movement disorders have primarily been diagnosed through clinical examinations, which are often inconclusive and can result in misdiagnosis. Many patients who are currently being treated for Parkinson’s do not, in fact, have it. At CereScan, we use the DaTscanTM procedure to help distinguish between Parkinsonian Syndrome (PS) and other movement disorders such as ataxia, dystonia, essential tremors, Lewy Body dementia, and drug-induced parkinsonism. The DaTscanTM shows how dopamine, a neurotransmitter, is distributed in your brain:
- Dopamine is an important brain chemical produced by neurons in areas of the brain which control movement
- When these neurons die or become impaired they produce less dopamine
- Visualizing a patient’s dopamine transporter status can help determine diagnosis
- Visualization of the dopamine transporter can add clarity to symptom presentation
- SPECT imaging with with DaTscan provides visual evidence of dopamine transporter status to aid in patient assessment and diagnosis
If you are on medications to treat PS and don’t actually have PS, the side effects may be significant and serious. If you think this might be the case, it’s time to get a clearer assessment. The results of the DaTscanTM will help your doctor in prescribing the proper treatment regimen. If you do not have PS, CereScan can conduct additional testing to determine what may be causing your symptoms.
We help remove the guesswork and bring clarity to your personal situation. An accurate diagnosis can allow you to better understand your condition and get off medications that may be causing negative side effects. You will be able to get proper treatment and receive the right medications to manage symptoms, if appropriate.
Knowing what is really wrong with you is always better than not knowing. Stop wondering. Find out today.