BMJ 2008; 337 doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmj.a2050 (Published 13 October 2008) Cite this as: BMJ 2008;337:a2050

A retired neurologist looks back on errors in diagnosing Parkinson’s disease in an essay in Practical Neurology (2008;8:322-4, doi:10.1136/jnnp.2008.152595). He recalls postencephalitic parkinsonism, phenothiazine induced parkinsonism, inadequately treated hypothyroidism, essential tremor, and normal pressure hydrocephalus all being mistaken for the idiopathic form of the disease. There are probably no lessons to be learnt, except to bear in mind that the diagnosis isn’t always as straightforward as it seems.

In 1995, the Canadian state of Ontario introduced legislation requiring cyclists younger than 18 to wear helmets on any public highway. In the absence of a proper control group, it’s often difficult to evaluate the effectiveness of these sorts of community interventions. However, a time series analysis shows a substantial fall in number of deaths in children while cycling, but no change in adult cycling deaths, suggesting that the intervention has been beneficial (Pediatrics 2008;122:605-10, doi:10.1542/peds.2007-1776).

Children born to older parents are at higher risk of having an autistic spectrum disorder, according to the results …

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