Depression a key factor in health of Parkinson's patients: study

Depression a key factor in health of parkinson's patients: study
Researchers add that it is difficult to diagnose because movement disorder masks symptoms.

(HealthDay)—Depression is the most important determinant of the health status of people with Parkinson's disease, according to early findings from a large study of Parkinson's patients.

Parkinson's is a that affects muscle and causes tremors, muscle rigidity and slowed movement. It's believed that about half of Parkinson's patients experience some form of depression at some point, and research suggests that depression and anxiety are more common in Parkinson's patients than in patients with other .

The early findings from the Parkinson's Outcomes Project were released Wednesday by the National Parkinson Foundation and suggest that the impact of depression on the of Parkinson's patients is almost twice that of the movement problems associated with the disease.

The researchers also noted that depression can be difficult to diagnose in Parkinson's patients because many common disease symptoms, such as fatigue and masked , may hide . Studies show that it is common for depression to be undiagnosed or under-treated in Parkinson's patients.

Based on these new findings, the National Parkinson Foundation recommends that doctors screen Parkinson's patients for depression at least once a year, and that patients discuss any mood changes with a health care professional.

When going to doctors' appointments, a patient should be accompanied by a family member who can provide information about any mood changes they've noticed in the patient.

The Parkinson's Outcomes Project began in 2009 and includes more than 5,500 Parkinson's patients in the United States and three other countries.

"Routine aspects of care are rarely studied, so this research is invaluable in proving that there are vast disparities in Parkinson's treatment and showing which aspects of care really work," Dr. Matthew Stern, of the University of Pennsylvania, who is also president-elect of the Movement Disorder Society, said in the news release.

"For example, this latest data demonstrates how important it is to quality care to refer patients for multi-faceted treatment of depression," he added.

More information: We Move has more about Parkinson's disease.

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Recommended for you

Can exercise help people with Parkinson's disease?

Dec 31, 2014

Exercise may help people with Parkinson's disease improve their balance, ability to move around and quality of life, even if it does not reduce their risk of falling, according to a new study published in ...

Tackling Parkinson's with targeted therapeutic vaccines

Dec 24, 2014

Clinical trials are about to begin on a new Parkinson's disease vaccine that could offer patients significant improvements over current treatments. The vaccine, developed through the FP7-funded SYMPATH project, ...

Parkinson's disease reverted at a experimental stage

Dec 19, 2014

Mexican scientists demonstrated experimentally, with adult rats, that mobility can be restored in patients with Parkinson's disease, the major degenerative disease of the motor system worldwide. The experiments ...

User comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.