The detection of preclinical Parkinson's disease: what is the role of positron emission tomography?

Mov Disord. 1993 Jul;8(3):271-7. doi: 10.1002/mds.870080304.


On clinical criteria alone, the diagnosis of early Parkinson's disease can be difficult and, by definition, the prospective recognition of preclinical Parkinson's disease is impossible. Positron emission tomography (PET) using [18F]dopa as tracer has been proposed as a means of identifying patients with preclinical disease. The number of subjects detected to date has been few; most have been identified by serendipity or during the course of family studies. This review examines the significance of a single abnormal scan in an apparently healthy subject in terms of the relationship between normal and abnormal values and the time course of the disease.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Blood-Brain Barrier
  • Brain / diagnostic imaging*
  • Brain / metabolism
  • Brain / physiopathology
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Dopamine / metabolism
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Levodopa / pharmacokinetics
  • Lewy Bodies
  • Male
  • Parkinson Disease / diagnostic imaging*
  • Parkinson Disease / metabolism
  • Parkinson Disease / physiopathology
  • Prospective Studies
  • Tomography, Emission-Computed / methods*


  • Levodopa
  • Dopamine