When still working at the Muhammad Ali Center about 10 years ago, I asked one of my fellows, Dr. Holly Shill, to look at our PD population change from diagnosis to 25 years. First thing I want you to notice, is that 25-year range. She found, after looking at the Unified Parkinson's Disease Rating Scale in more than 600 patients and 3,000 office visits, several important things.
1) Diagnosis of PD usually occurred at a score of about 25.
2) Levodopa produced about a 12-point benefit, a dopamine agonist about an 8-point benefit
3) Patients with prominent tremor did better than patients with no tremor.
We did not look at gait specifically, but we did look at "disability," which we defined as 12 hours of effort to get 8 hours of pay. This had nothing to do with a need for a walker or wheelchair. On average, people reached this point, or a score around 60, at an average of 12.2 years after diagnosis.
I am sorry I cannot give you an average duration to a need for assistance with walking, but hope that 12 years to retirement is good news.
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