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Parkinson's Disease

Wooden stool fell on head

09/27/2006

Question:

A wooden stool fell from the top shelf in a department store and hit an elderly lady in the head. At that time she felt as though she lost her vision in one eye. One year later she was diagnosed with Parkinson`s disease. Is it possible that the stool falling on her head could have any effect on the onset of her parkinson`s disease??

I am asking because I once read that Mahaummed Ali developed parkinson`s disease and it was noted that it could have been caused from the fatal blows to his head.

Answer:

True injury-induced Parkinsonism is fairly rare.  Especially if there is no loss of consciousness and no abnormalities seen on brain scan from the trauma.  It would be most common that an elderly person develops typical PD, with the disease process occurring slowly for many years before any symptoms are seen. 

There is controversy over whether or not repeated mild head trauma over many years may increase the risk of PD, but more studies need to be done.  Additionally, persons with Parkinsonism from repeated head blows of significance usually have other features in addition to those seen in PD.

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Response by:

Karen M Thomas, DO Karen M Thomas, DO
Formerly:
College of Medicine
The Ohio State University