Research Insights

Parkinson’s disease with old-age onset: a comparative study with subjects with middle-age onset

Diederich NJ, Moore CG, Leurgans SE, Chmura TA, Goetz CG. (2003) Parkinson’s disease with old-age onset: a comparative study with subjects with middle-age onset , Apr;60(4):529-33

These authors studied the age of onset of PD in relation to comorbidity, disease severity, motor symptoms, and prognosis. They looked at forty-three patients (mean age 82, 19 men, 24 women; diagnosis 5.1 years) with PD with disease onset after age 78 and eighty-one patients (mean age 54.7, 37 men, 44 women; diagnosis 5.5 years) with PD with onset between 43 and 66. The patients with older age of disease onset had worse motor symptoms, were more likely to have comorbid diagnoses, were all on PD medications, had lower dosages of PD medications, and were more likely to only be taking one PD medication. The two groups had a similar level of tremors. These authors hypothesized that patients with later onset PD may have a more rapid disease progression, although they may be less aggressively treated, as evidenced in this study. There are several limitations with this study, including that they did not look at negative side effects of PD medications, they did not look at older PD patients with earlier disease onset, and they did not include a group of age matched controls without PD to evaluate if the older group has a similar rate of comorbid conditions as older adults without PD.

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