4th of October 2018
Words I wish I had known when I walked into the neurologist’s room.
The word bradykinesia comes from Greek and stands for slowless of performed movements (βραδύς = “slow”, κίνησις = movement”) which are movements we perform on assignment. It may be difficult to:
- start a movement;
- react immediately.
It feels like your body or brain isn’t obeying your brain’s commands, at least not immediately. The appearance of a patient may look unnaturally still. Bradykinesia causes difficulties with rapidly repeated movements.
- https://doi.org/10.1093/brain/124.11.2131 P.D., Pathophysiology of bradykinesia in Parkinson’s disease. Brain, Volume 124, Issue 11, 1 November 2001, Pages 2131–2146, Retrieved from
The so-called cogwheel phenomenon – the shocking motion when bending or stretching a joint – is an example of bradykinesia and hypokinesia.
The Italian neurologist Camillo Negro described this phenomenon in 1901 (Ghiglione, P., Mutani, R., & Chiò, A. (2005). Cogwheel Rigidity. Archives of Neurology, 62(5), 828. Retrieved from https://doi.org/10.1001/archneur.62.5.828).
Freezing is when a person suddenly stops:
It feels like their feet have been glued to the ground.
All of a sudden, a Parkinson’s patients cannot find words.
Hypokinesia stands for a decreasing amplitude of movements (ὑπό = “under”, κίνησις = “movement”). For example:
- The handwriting of patients becomes ‘scribbly’;
- There is a reduced amplitude of arm swing;
- The voice of patients becomes harder to hear.
An example of bradykinesia, hypokinesia and akinesia together is a decreased arm swing. In a patient with Parkinson’s, the ‘arm swing’ – the way an arm moves during walking – is often reduced, to begin with on one side of the body (arm-swing asymmetry). It’s difficult to initiate movement of the arm, once it moves the arm moves more slowly and has a smaller amplitude or even stops again, while the other arm moves normally.
Idiopathic comes from the Greek ἴδιος (idios) which means ‘self’ or ‘own’ and from πάθος (pathos), Greek for ‘disorder’, ‘pain’ or ‘emotion’. Idiopathic can be translated as ‘self-sickness’, which means that you have a disease without a known cause.
Left- or right onset Parkinson
Laterality stands for different characteristics between two sides of a whole, in this case between the two sides of your body. In about 75% of patients the core symptoms of Parkinson start on one side. After a while, the other side will also start to give symptoms, but generally the first affected side will keep on causing the most problems | Parkinsonnet.
- Google Scholar for scientific literature on laterality in Parkinson’s .
Rigidity means stiff or inflexible muscles, one of the main symptoms of Parkinson’s. Patients may experience:
- Muscle pain and cramps;
- Reduced ability to move joints (e.g. problems with turning around in bed, swinging an arm during walking, writing, opening cans, brushing teeth, etc.)
- What is rigidity | A webpage full of information by Parkinson’s UK.
Young Onset Parkinson
Parkinson is typically diagnosed around age 60 or later, but symptoms can start at 50 years old or earlier. If that occurs, it’s referred to as young-onset Parkinson’s disease (YOP) | Michael J. Fox Foundation.