Our treatment for atypical Parkinson’s Disease, Progressive Supranuclear Palsy, Multiple System Atrophy, Corticobasal Syndrome, Vascular Parkinsonism is much harder. In these diseases we know that there is a little loss of dopamine in many of the cases that can respond to the drugs that we use for Parkinson’s Disease. But unfortunately, we give those treatments in hope, rather than expectation. And indeed this is often one of the clues that lets your doctor know that you don’t really have Parkinson’s Disease, and the diagnosis needs to be refreshed.

The truth is that those dopaminergic therapies when they do work, for conditions like progressive Supranuclear Palsy and Multiple System Atrophy are helpful for patients. But we need to counter, is the fact that they can sometimes make those symptoms that we see as part of the disease – worse. So if someone is fainting, then we give them those drugs, it might make fainting worse.

So we have to be very careful how we treat those diseases that are like Parkinson’s, but not the real disease itself. And unfortunately we don’t have any specific treatments, so it does seem a little bit odd that your treatment is for a different disease, but that’s often what we do in the world of medicine.