New Predictors of Dementia in Parkinson’s

As many as 50% of Parkinson’s patients develop dementia, usually late in the course. A new study in Neurology in August 2014 has found that some “non-motor” features may be predictors. These features are orthostatic hypotension (blood pressure falling with standing), rapid eye movement sleep behavior disorder (acting out dreams during sleep), color discrimination, and gait dysfunction (especially “freezing”). Rapid eye movement behavior disorder is the single most important feature in increasing the risk of dementia. Neither daytime sleepiness nor insomnia was associated with dementia. Visual hallucinations, subjective memory loss, and depression did predict dementia.

This study is preliminary but is helpful to give patients and families an educated opinion.

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Dr. Jack Florin, MD
Neurologist
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