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Bradykinesia is literally slowness of movement. It is one of the principal features of parkinsonism, and it is probably, for the patient, one of the most distressing, tiring and disabling features of their disease.

Small muscle movement is affected first, often unilaterally. One manifestation of bradykinesia is laboured and monotonous speech.

Bradykinesia is most easily demonstrated by asking to tap their forefinger on their thumb. Normally an individual will be able to tap at 4 or 5 Hz; the bradykinesic individual may only be able to manage 1 Hz or less.

Last reviewed 01/2018