Duncan G, Yarnall AJ, Marrinan S, Burn DJ
In this review, we shall outline recent advances in our understanding of the movement disorders which geriatricians encounter in their clinical practice.
Many of these diseases are no longer simply considered disorders of movement: carefully conducted longitudinal studies have shown that concomitant cognitive dysfunction, neuropsychiatric disturbance and behavioural issues are frequent and exert a heavy burden on the individual and their carers.
Great progress has been made in understanding the molecular and cellular processes that drive the pathological changes in these conditions, as have advances in neuroimaging and preclinical drug discovery programmes. Unfortunately, this is yet to translate into disease-modifying therapies for these progressive disorders. Advances have been also made in non-pharmacological interventions such as tailored physiotherapy and speech therapy programmes. The important contribution of palliative care has been recognised and increasingly incorporated into the multidisciplinary approach.
The UK is at the forefront of research into these conditions and geriatricians are well placed to contribute to research through recruiting patients to observational studies or therapeutic trials, particularly with the support of agencies such as the National Institute for Health Research—Dementias & Neurodegenerative Diseases Research Network (NIHR-DeNDRoN).