For the Classroom

Guess the Disorder Quiz: Parkinson's Disease

  • Published26 Jun 2018
  • Reviewed26 Jun 2018
  • Author Emma Lindberg
  • Source BrainFacts/SfN


Neurologists and psychiatrists work every day to diagnose patients. One way they do this is by observing patients and asking them to describe their symptoms. In this activity, students will fill the role of a neurologist trying to diagnose a disease or disorder based on the evidence provided.

After studying the provided materials on diseases and disorders in the eighth edition of Brain Facts, students will investigate the symptoms of an unnamed disease using a handful of clues. Students will sift through their knowledge of neurodegenerative diseases, injury, and psychiatric disorders to eliminate wrong answers and solve the mystery.

Prep Work

This activity is based on chapters 11–15 (pages 71–104) of the eighth edition of Brain Facts. Encourage students to read the chapters during class time or on their own to study for the Guess the Disorder Quiz.


  1. Provide your student with the “Disorder Clues” prompt.
  2. Ask your students to read the prompt and use the information they learned from the Brain Facts book to determine the diagnosis. This can be done individually or as a group.


After your students have completed the quiz, ask them to share their answers with the class. Ask each student or group to give their rationale as to why they chose the diagnosis they did.

Disorder Clues

At first, this neurodegenerative disorder — the second most common in humans — is characterized as a motor problem. Some people become severely disabled, while others have only minor motor disruptions.

Motor symptoms include:

  •  Slow movement
  • Muscular rigidity
  • Poor coordination and instability
  • Shaking arms, hands, legs, jaw, and face while at rest, known as a resting tremor

The rate and intensity of disease progression varies across patients. In some people, the resting tremor may worsen and interfere with walking, talking, and other simple tasks.

Some people with this disorder develop:

  •  Depression and other emotional changes
  • Difficulty swallowing and chewing
  • Skin problems
  • Constipation or urinary problems
  • Sleeping problems


Parkinson's  Disease



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