Time to change the blind men and the elephant approach to Parkinson disease?

Neurology. 2015 Jul 14;85(2):190-6. doi: 10.1212/WNL.0000000000001739. Epub 2015 Jun 12.


Parkinson disease (PD) is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that is associated with substantial morbidity and early mortality. Disease-related costs exceed $10 billion, not including medications, out-of-pocket expenses, or societal costs. Symptomatic treatment with levodopa, which has been available for over 30 years, and advanced therapies such as deep brain stimulation improve outcomes. Yet most new medications for PD provide a therapeutic benefit that is relatively modest compared to the benefits from levodopa. Despite dozens of neuroprotective clinical trials, there are no medications proven to slow the progression of the disease. Given these limitations, we provide evidence of the potential public health impact of a research agenda that emphasizes identification of risk factors to reduce disease burden through exposure mitigation. In addition, we emphasize health care policy that focuses on increasing health care expenditures for neurologic evaluation and management services to increase access to specialists to improve disease outcomes and reduce costs through better disease management.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Cost of Illness
  • Cost-Benefit Analysis
  • Female
  • Health Expenditures
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Parkinson Disease / diagnosis*
  • Parkinson Disease / therapy*
  • Public Health* / economics
  • Public Health* / legislation & jurisprudence
  • Public Health* / methods
  • Risk Factors