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Depression is biggest factor affecting those with Parkinson’s

November 28, 2012
by Pamela Tabar, Associate Editor
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Depression can directly affect the health levels and relapse severities of those with Parkinson’s disease, according to a study announced today by the National Parkinson Foundation.

The Parkinson’s Outcomes Project, the largest study of its kind, included 5,500 diagnosed patients in four countries. About 50 percent of those with Parkinson’s experience depression, a higher rate than with other diseases, the study indicated. But, fatigue and other physicial symptoms of Parkinson’s can mask signals of depression, leading to undertreatment or a lack of depression recognition, the foundation researchers noted.

The study highlights the important of regular depression screening in long-term care facilities and careful monitoring of mood changes by nursing caregivers. The foundation also urges additional communication between a resident’s Parkinson’s physician and daily caregivers, including familiy members who may be able to share additional details on mood changes.

Parkinson’s disease affects about 1 million Americans and is the second-most common neuro-degenerative disease after Alzheimer’s disease. Most cases are diagnoses between the ages of 55 and 65.

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