Perspectives on recent advances in the understanding and treatment of Parkinson’s disease


A. Schapira, Department of Clinical Neurosciences, Institute of Neurology, UCL, Rowland Hill Street, London NW3 2PF, UK (tel.: 020 7830 2012; fax: 020 7472 6829; e-mail:


There have been numerous important recent advances in our understanding of the causes of Parkinson’s disease (PD), the treatments available and how these are best applied for the long-term management of patients. Novel genes causing familial PD have been discovered and mechanisms leading to cell dysfunction and death identified. The PD prodrome is now a subject of great interest and clinical markers are being defined that may in future, together with biochemical markers, support an early, pre-motor diagnosis of PD. This will become important as new therapies are developed to modify disease progression. In the interim, the optimization of existing therapies remains an important priority. The value of existing and novel continuous drug delivery systems in PD is seen as providing simplified regimens, maintenance of motor control, reduction in motor complications and improved patient adherence to drug use.