Parkinsonism Evaluation

Appointment New Patient Appointment or 214-645-8300

UT Southwestern Medical Center neurologists are trained to diagnose and treat rare neurological conditions such as Parkinsonism. Patients are often referred to our team when there is uncertainty about their diagnosis.

Our Services

There is no single test to make a definitive diagnosis of Parkinsonism. A diagnosis is made by assessing a patient’s symptoms, medical history, family history, previous disorders, and exposure to toxins and medications that might cause Parkinsonism.

A comprehensive physical examination also helps determine the underlying condition. Diagnostic testing might include:

  • Blood tests: Sometimes used to check for uncommon genetic, metabolic, nutritional, or endocrine diseases that can produce the appearance of Parkinsonism
  • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), or brain scan: Looks for a structural disorder that might be causing the symptoms
  • Sweat test: Evaluates perspiration to help assess autonomic function failure and can help identify multiple system atrophy (MSA)
  • Tilt table test: Assesses whether a person’s blood pressure and heart rate can adjust normally to a change in physical position, which can help identify patients with MSA
  • Single photon emission computed tomography (SPECT) scan: Assesses chemical and energetic measures of the brain and how it is performing, for patients who might have corticobasal degeneration

Once the evaluation is complete, our Movement Disorders team meets with each patient to discuss the diagnosis and treatment options.