A timeline for Parkinson's disease

Parkinsonism Relat Disord. 2010 Feb;16(2):79-84. doi: 10.1016/j.parkreldis.2009.08.007. Epub 2009 Oct 28.


It is reasonably well established that prior to the motor phase of classical Parkinson's disease (PD) there is a prodromal period of several years duration. Once typical motor features appear, the disease continues up to 20 years depending on multiple variables. The clinical features of the prodromal and motor phases may be correlated with pathological changes in the central and autonomic nervous systems to allow a sequential plan of disease progression. We present a 'best guess' for a typical individual presenting with PD in their sixties and speculate that the disease will last approximately 40 years from the earliest non-motor features to death. Appreciation of this concept may allow better strategies for slowing or halting disease progression.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Disease Progression
  • Humans
  • Lewy Bodies / pathology
  • Models, Biological
  • Parkinson Disease / pathology
  • Parkinson Disease / physiopathology*