Research Insights

Swallowing abnormalities and dyskinesia in Parkinson’s disease

Annals of Neurology

Monte, F. S., F. P. da Silva-Junior, et al. (2004) Swallowing abnormalities and dyskinesia in Parkinson’s disease Annals of Neurology, Epub ahead of print

These authors suggest that approximately 70% of patientÕs with PD experience dysphagia (dif?culty swallowing). The aim of this study was to evaluate swallowing dif?culties in patients with PD with and without dyskinesia (abnormal involuntary movements). They looked at 15 dyskinetic and 12 nondyskinetic patients with PD (17 men, 12 women, mean age 61.9, mean disease duration 7.7 years) as compared to 7 healthy controls similar in age to the patients with PD. It should be noted that patients with dementia, stroke, and a few other neurological signs (indicators of brain dysfunction) were excluded from this study, so it is possible that their patients do not represent a typical patient with PD. The researchers monitored swallowing of food as well as liquid with a special x-ray for all subjects. They found that patients with dyskinesia had a longer duration of PD, worse motor functioning, and larger doses of L-dopa that had been taken longer than the nondyskinetic patients. Controls and patients were not different on two of the three swallowing measures used. The two patient groups did not differ on their self-report of swallowing dif?culties. They found that nondyskinetic patients had more dif?culties with swallowing (food and liquid) as compared to controls. They also found that the dyskinetic patients had better swallowing than nondyskinetic patients and suggested that the higher L-dopa treatment resulted in better swallowing. However there were many factors that they did not look into that could contribute to the explanation of this difference.

Click here to read the abstract.

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