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1.  Activity enhances dopaminergic long-duration response in Parkinson disease 
Jung Kang, Un | Auinger, Peggy | Fahn, Stanley | Oakes, David | Shoulson, Ira | Kieburtz, Karl | Rudolph, Alice | Marek, Kenneth | Seibyl, John | Lang, Anthony | Olanow, C. Warren | Tanner, Caroline | Schifitto, Giovanni | Zhao, Hongwei | Reyes, Lydia | Shinaman, Aileen | Comella, Cynthia L. | Goetz, Christopher | Blasucci, Lucia M. | Samanta, Johan | Stacy, Mark | Williamson, Kelli | Harrigan, Mary | Greene, Paul | Ford, Blair | Moskowitz, Carol | Truong, Daniel D. | Pathak, Mayank | Jankovic, Joseph | Ondo, William | Atassi, Farah | Hunter, Christine | Jacques, Carol | Friedman, Joseph H. | Lannon, Margaret | Russell, David S. | Jennings, Danna | Fussell, Barbara | Standaert, David | Schwarzschild, Michael A. | Growdon, John H. | Tennis, Marsha | Gauthier, Serge | Panisset, Michel | Hall, Jean | Gancher, Stephen | Hammerstad, John P. | Stone, Claudia | Alexander-Brown, Barbara | Factor, Stewart A. | Molho, Eric | Brown, Diane | Evans, Sharon | Clark, Jeffrey | Manyam, Bala | Simpson, Patricia | Wulbrecht, Brian | Whetteckey, Jacqueline | Martin, Wayne | Roberts, Ted | King, Pamela | Hauser, Robert | Zesiewicz, Theresa | Gauger, Lisa | Trugman, Joel | Wooten, G. Frederick | Rost-Ruffner, Elke | Perlmutter, Joel | Racette, Brad A. | Suchowersky, Oksana | Ranawaya, Ranjit | Wood, Susan | Pantella, Carol | Kurlan, Roger | Richard, Irene | Pearson, Nancy | Caviness, John N. | Adler, Charles | Lind, Marlene | Simuni, Tanya | Siderowf, Andrew | Colcher, Amy | Lloyd, Mary | Weiner, William | Shulman, Lisa | Koller, William | Lyons, Kelly | Feldman, Robert G. | Saint-Hilaire, Marie H. | Ellias, Samuel | Thomas, Cathi-Ann | Juncos, Jorge | Watts, Ray | Partlow, Anna | Tetrud, James | Togasaki, Daniel M. | Stewart, Tracy | Mark, Margery H. | Sage, Jacob I. | Caputo, Debbie | Gould, Harry | Rao, Jayaraman | McKendrick, Ann | Brin, Mitchell | Danisi, Fabio | Benabou, Reina | Hubble, Jean | Paulson, George W. | Reider, Carson | Birnbaum, Alex | Miyasaki, Janis | Johnston, Lisa | So, Julie | Pahwa, Rajesh | Dubinsky, Richard M. | Wszolek, Zbigniew | Uitti, Ryan | Turk, Margaret | Tuite, Paul | Rottenberg, David | Hansen, Joy | Ramos, Serrano | Waters, Cheryl | Lew, Mark | Welsh, Mickie | Kawai, Connie | O'Brien, Christopher | Kumar, Rajeev | Seeberger, Lauren | Judd, Deborah | Barclay, C. Lynn | Grimes, David A. | Sutherland, Laura | Dawson, Ted | Reich, Stephen | Dunlop, Rebecca | Albin, Roger | Frey, Kirk | Wernette, Kristine | Fahn, Stanley | Oakes, David | Shoulson, Ira | Kieburtz, Karl | Rudolph, Alice | Marek, Kenneth | Seibyl, John | Lang, Anthony | Olanow, C. Warren | Tanner, Caroline | Schifitto, Giovanni | Zhao, Hongwei | Reyes, Lydia | Shinaman, Aileen | Comella, Cynthia L. | Goetz, Christopher | Blasucci, Lucia M. | Samanta, Johan | Stacy, Mark | Williamson, Kelli | Harrigan, Mary | Greene, Paul | Ford, Blair | Moskowitz, Carol | Truong, Daniel D. | Pathak, Mayank | Jankovic, Joseph | Ondo, William | Atassi, Farah | Hunter, Christine | Jacques, Carol | Friedman, Joseph H. | Lannon, Margaret | Russell, David S. | Jennings, Danna | Fussell, Barbara | Standaert, David | Schwarzschild, Michael A. | Growdon, John H. | Tennis, Marsha | Gauthier, Serge | Panisset, Michel | Hall, Jean | Gancher, Stephen | Hammerstad, John P. | Stone, Claudia | Alexander-Brown, Barbara | Factor, Stewart A. | Molho, Eric | Brown, Diane | Evans, Sharon | Clark, Jeffrey | Manyam, Bala | Simpson, Patricia | Wulbrecht, Brian | Whetteckey, Jacqueline | Martin, Wayne | Roberts, Ted | King, Pamela | Hauser, Robert | Zesiewicz, Theresa | Gauger, Lisa | Trugman, Joel | Wooten, G. Frederick | Rost-Ruffner, Elke | Perlmutter, Joel | Racette, Brad A. | Suchowersky, Oksana | Ranawaya, Ranjit | Wood, Susan | Pantella, Carol | Kurlan, Roger | Richard, Irene | Pearson, Nancy | Caviness, John N. | Adler, Charles | Lind, Marlene | Simuni, Tanya | Siderowf, Andrew | Colcher, Amy | Lloyd, Mary | Weiner, William | Shulman, Lisa | Koller, William | Lyons, Kelly | Feldman, Robert G. | Saint-Hilaire, Marie H. | Ellias, Samuel | Thomas, Cathi-Ann | Juncos, Jorge | Watts, Ray | Partlow, Anna | Tetrud, James | Togasaki, Daniel M. | Stewart, Tracy | Mark, Margery H. | Sage, Jacob I. | Caputo, Debbie | Gould, Harry | Rao, Jayaraman | McKendrick, Ann | Brin, Mitchell | Danisi, Fabio | Benabou, Reina | Hubble, Jean | Paulson, George W. | Reider, Carson | Birnbaum, Alex | Miyasaki, Janis | Johnston, Lisa | So, Julie | Pahwa, Rajesh | Dubinsky, Richard M. | Wszolek, Zbigniew | Uitti, Ryan | Turk, Margaret | Tuite, Paul | Rottenberg, David | Hansen, Joy | Ramos, Serrano | Waters, Cheryl | Lew, Mark | Welsh, Mickie | Kawai, Connie | O'Brien, Christopher | Kumar, Rajeev | Seeberger, Lauren | Judd, Deborah | Barclay, C. Lynn | Grimes, David A. | Sutherland, Laura | Dawson, Ted | Reich, Stephen | Dunlop, Rebecca | Albin, Roger | Frey, Kirk | Wernette, Kristine | Mendis, Tilak
Neurology  2012;78(15):1146-1149.
We tested the hypothesis that dopamine-dependent motor learning mechanism underlies the long-duration response to levodopa in Parkinson disease (PD) based on our studies in a mouse model. By data-mining the motor task performance in dominant and nondominant hands of the subjects in a double-blind randomized trial of levodopa therapy, the effects of activity and dopamine therapy were examined.
We data-mined the Earlier versus Later Levodopa Therapy in Parkinson's Disease (ELLDOPA) study published in 2005 and performed statistical analysis comparing the effects of levodopa and dominance of handedness over 42 weeks.
The mean change in finger-tapping counts from baseline before the initiation of therapy to predose at 9 weeks and 40 weeks increased more in the dominant compared to nondominant hand in levodopa-treated subjects in a dose-dependent fashion. There was no significant difference in dominant vs nondominant hands in the placebo group. The short-duration response assessed by the difference of postdose performance compared to predose performance at the same visit did not show any significant difference between dominant vs nondominant hands.
Active use of the dominant hand and dopamine replacement therapy produces synergistic effect on long-lasting motor task performance during “off” medication state. Such effect was confined to dopamine-responsive symptoms and not seen in dopamine-resistant symptoms such as gait and balance. We propose that long-lasting motor learning facilitated by activity and dopamine is a form of disease modification that is often seen in trials of medications that have symptomatic effects.
PMCID: PMC3466780  PMID: 22459675
2.  Longitudinal study of normal cognition in Parkinson disease 
Neurology  2015;85(15):1276-1282.
To report the rates and predictors of progression from normal cognition to either mild cognitive impairment (MCI) or dementia using standardized neuropsychological methods.
A prospective cohort of patients diagnosed with Parkinson disease (PD) and baseline normal cognition was assessed for cognitive decline, performance, and function for a minimum of 2 years, and up to 6. A panel of movement disorders experts classified patients as having normal cognition, MCI, or dementia, with 55/68 (80.9%) of eligible patients seen at year 6. Kaplan-Meier curves and Cox proportional hazard models were used to examine cognitive decline and its predictors.
We enrolled 141 patients, who averaged 68.8 years of age, 63% men, who had PD on average for 5 years. The cumulative incidence of cognitive impairment was 8.5% at year 1, increasing to 47.4% by year 6. All incident MCI cases had progressed to dementia by year 5. In a multivariate analysis, predictors of future decline were male sex (p = 0.02), higher Unified Parkinson's Disease Rating Scale motor score (p ≤ 0.001), and worse global cognitive score (p < 0.001).
Approximately half of patients with PD with normal cognition at baseline develop cognitive impairment within 6 years and all new MCI cases progress to dementia within 5 years. Our results show that the transition from normal cognition to cognitive impairment, including dementia, occurs frequently and quickly. Certain clinical and cognitive variables may be useful in predicting progression to cognitive impairment in PD.
PMCID: PMC4617168  PMID: 26362285
3.  Cognitive Performance and Neuropsychiatric Symptoms in Early, Untreated Parkinson’s Disease 
This study was undertaken to determine the prevalence and correlates of cognitive impairment (CI) and neuropsychiatric symptoms (NPS) in early, untreated patients with Parkinson’s disease (PD).
Both CI and NPS are common in PD and impact disease course and quality of life. However, limited knowledge is available about cognitive abilities and NPS.
Parkinson’s Progression Markers Initiative (PPMI) is a multi-site study of early, untreated PD patients and healthy controls (HCs), the latter with normal cognition. At baseline, participants were assessed with a neuropsychological battery and for symptoms of depression, anxiety, impulse control disorders (ICDs), psychosis, and apathy.
Baseline data of 423 PD patients and 196 HCs yielded no between-group differences in demographic characteristics. Twenty-two percent of PD patients met the PD-recommended screening cutoff for CI on the Montral Cognitive Assessment (MoCA), but only 9% met detailed neuropsychological testing criteria for mild cognitive impairment (MCI)-level impairment. The PD patients were more depressed than HCs (P < 0.001), with twice as many (14% vs. 7%) meeting criteria for clinically significant depressive symptoms. The PD patients also experienced more anxiety (P < 0.001) and apathy (P < 0.001) than HCs. Psychosis was uncommon in PD (3%), and no between-group difference was seen in ICD symptoms (P = 0.51).
Approximately 10% of PD patients in the early, untreated disease state met traditional criteria of CI, which is a lower frequency compared with previous studies. Multiple dopaminergic-dependent NPS are also more common in these patients compared with the general population, but others associated with dopamine replacement therapy are not or are rare. Future analyses of this cohort will examine biological predictors and the course of CI and NPS.
PMCID: PMC4855523  PMID: 25737166
anxiety; apathy; cognition; depression; impulse control disorder; Parkinson’s disease; psychosis
4.  Plasma EGF and cognitive decline in Parkinson's disease and Alzheimer's disease 
Cognitive decline occurs in multiple neurodegenerative diseases, including Alzheimer's disease (AD) and Parkinson's disease (PD). Shared underlying mechanisms may exist and manifest as shared biomarker signatures. Previously, we nominated plasma epidermal growth factor (EGF) as a biomarker predicting cognitive decline in patients with established PD. Here, we investigate EGF as a predictive biomarker in prodromal PD, as well as AD.
A cohort of PD patients (n = 236) was recruited to replicate our finding that low baseline EGF levels predict future cognitive decline. Additionally, plasma EGF and cognitive outcome measures were obtained from individuals with normal cognition (NC, n = 58), amnestic mild cognitive impairment (AD‐MCI, n = 396), and Alzheimer's disease (AD, n = 112) in the Alzheimer's Disease Neuroimaging Initiative (ADNI) cohort to investigate whether low EGF levels correlate with cognitive status and outcome in AD‐MCI and AD. Third, plasma EGF and cognitive measures were evaluated in the high‐risk asymptomatic Parkinson's Associated Risk Study (PARS) cohort (n = 165) to investigate the association of EGF and cognitive performance in a PD prodromal context.
In both PD and AD‐MCI, low baseline plasma EGF predicted poorer long‐term cognitive outcomes. In asymptomatic individuals at highest risk for developing PD from the PARS cohort, low baseline plasma EGF associated with poorer performance in the visuospatial domain but not in other cognitive domains.
Low plasma EGF at baseline predicts cognitive decline in both AD and PD. Evidence for this signal may exist in prodromal stages of both diseases.
PMCID: PMC4863747  PMID: 27231704
Alzheimer's disease; biomarker; cognition; EGF; epidermal growth factor; Parkinson's disease; plasma
5.  Development and Initial Testing of the Penn Parkinson's Daily Activities Questionnaire 
The aim of this work was to describe the development and psychometric analysis of the Penn Parkinson's Daily Activities Questionnaire. The questionnaire is an item response theory-based tool for rating cognitive instrumental activities of daily living in PD.
Candidate items for the Penn Parkinson's Daily Activities Questionnaire were developed through literature review and focus groups of patients and knowledgeable informants. Item selection and calibration of item-response theory parameters were performed using responses from a cohort of PD patients and knowledgeable informants (n = 388). In independent cohorts of PD patients and knowledgeable informants, assessments of test-retest reliability (n = 50), and construct validity (n = 68) of the questionnaire were subsequently performed. Construct validity was assessed by correlating questionnaire scores with measures of motor function, cognition, an existing activities of daily living measure, and directly observed daily function.
Fifty items were retained in the final questionnaire item bank. Items were excluded owing to redundancy, difficult reading level, and when item-response theory parameters could not be calculated. Test-retest reliability was high (intraclass correlation coefficient = 0.97; P < 0.001). The questionnaire correlated strongly with cognition (r = 0.68; P < 0.001) and directly observed daily function (r = 0.87; P < 0.001), but not with motor impairment (r = 0.08; P = 0.53). The questionnaire score accurately discriminated between PD patients with and without dementia (receiver operating characteristic curve = 0.91; 95% confidence interval: 0.85–0.97).
The Penn Parkinson's Daily Activities Questionnaire shows strong evidence of reliability and validity. Item response theory-based psychometric analysis suggests that this questionnaire can discriminate across a range of daily functions.
PMCID: PMC4724261  PMID: 26249849
Parkinson's disease; instrumental activities of daily living; cognition; item response theory
6.  Imaging prodromal Parkinson disease 
Neurology  2014;83(19):1739-1746.
The purpose of this study is to evaluate the relative risk of abnormal dopamine transporter (DAT) imaging for subjects with and without hyposmia and the feasibility of acquiring a large, community-based, 2-tiered biomarker assessment strategy to detect prodromal Parkinson disease (PD).
In this observational study, individuals without a diagnosis of PD, recruited through 16 movement disorder clinics, underwent tier 1 assessments (olfactory testing, questionnaires). Tier 2 assessments (neurologic examination, DAT imaging, and other biomarker assessments) were completed by 303 subjects. The main outcome of the study is to compare age-expected [123I]β-CIT striatal binding ratio in hyposmic and normosmic subjects.
Tier 1 assessments were mailed to 9,398 eligible subjects and returned by 4,999; 669 were hyposmic. Three hundred three subjects (203 hyposmic, 100 normosmic) completed baseline evaluations. DAT deficit was present in 11% of hyposmic subjects compared with 1% of normosmic subjects. Multiple logistic regression demonstrates hyposmia (odds ratio [OR] 12.4; 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.6, 96.1), male sex (OR 5.5; 95% CI 1.7, 17.2), and constipation (OR 4.3; 95% CI 1.6, 11.6) as factors predictive of DAT deficit. Combining multiple factors (hyposmia, male sex, and constipation) increased the percentage of subjects with a DAT deficit to >40%.
Subjects with DAT deficit who do not meet criteria for a diagnosis of PD can be identified by olfactory testing. Sequential biomarker assessment may identify those at risk of PD. Selecting hyposmic individuals enriches the population for DAT deficit, and combining hyposmia with other potential risk factors (male sex, constipation) increases the percentage of subjects with a DAT deficit compatible with prodromal PD.
PMCID: PMC4239830  PMID: 25298306
7.  Naltrexone for impulse control disorders in Parkinson disease 
Neurology  2014;83(9):826-833.
Impulse control disorders (ICDs) in Parkinson disease (PD) are common and can be difficult to manage. The objective of this study was to determine the efficacy and tolerability of naltrexone, an opioid antagonist, for the treatment of ICDs in PD.
Patients with PD (n = 50) and an ICD were enrolled in an 8-week, randomized (1:1), double-blind, placebo-controlled study of naltrexone 50–100 mg/d (flexible dosing). The primary outcome measure was response based on the Clinical Global Impression–Change score, and the secondary outcome measure was change in symptom severity using the Questionnaire for Impulsive-Compulsive Disorders in Parkinson's Disease–Rating Scale (QUIP-RS) ICD score.
Forty-five patients (90%) completed the study. The Clinical Global Impression–Change response rate difference favoring naltrexone in completers was 19.8% (95% confidence interval [CI] −8.7% to 44.2%). While this difference was not significant (odds ratio = 1.6, 95% CI 0.5–5.2, Wald χ2 [df] = 0.5 [1], p = 0.5), naltrexone treatment led to a significantly greater decrease in QUIP-RS ICD score over time compared with placebo (regression coefficient for interaction term in linear mixed-effects model = −7.37, F[df] = 4.3 [1, 49], p = 0.04). The estimated changes in QUIP-RS ICD scores from baseline to week 8 were 14.9 points (95% CI 9.9–19.9) for naltrexone and 7.5 points (95% CI 2.5–12.6) for placebo.
Naltrexone treatment was not efficacious for the treatment of ICDs in PD using a global assessment of response, but findings using a PD-specific ICD rating scale support further evaluation of opioid antagonists for the treatment of ICD symptoms in PD.
Classification of evidence:
This study provides Class I evidence that in patients with PD and an ICD, naltrexone does not significantly increase the probability of achieving response. However, the study lacked the precision to exclude an important difference in response rates.
PMCID: PMC4155050  PMID: 25037206
8.  Neuropsychological assessment in collaborative Parkinson’s disease research 
Cognitive impairment (CI) and behavioral disturbances can be the earliest symptoms of Parkinson’s disease (PD), ultimately afflict the vast majority of PD patients, and increase caregiver burden. Our two Morris K. Udall Centers of Excellence for Parkinson’s Disease Research were supported by the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) to recommend a comprehensive yet practical approach to cognitive and behavioral assessment to fuel collaborative research. We recommend a step-wise approach with two levels of standardized evaluation to establish a common battery, as well as an alternative testing recommendation for severely impaired subjects, and review supplemental tests that may be useful in specific research settings. Our flexible approach may be applied to studies with varying emphasis on cognition and behavior, does not place undue burden on participants or resources, and has a high degree of compatibility with existing test batteries to promote collaboration.
PMCID: PMC3612566  PMID: 23164549
9.  Cognitive impairment and PD patients' capacity to consent to research 
Neurology  2013;81(9):801-807.
To examine how cognitive impairment affects Parkinson disease (PD) patients' research consent capacity.
A cross-sectional study of 90 patients with PD, divided using Mattis Dementia Rating Scale–2 scores into 3 groups of 30 (normal, borderline, and impaired), and 30 neurologically normal older adults completed 2 capacity interviews (an early-phase randomized and controlled drug trial and a sham-controlled surgical implantation of genetic tissue) using the MacArthur Competence Assessment Tool for Clinical Research. Expert clinicians used the interviews to classify the patients as either capable or not capable of providing their own informed consent. These judgments were compared with performance on the Montreal Cognitive Assessment (MoCA) and the Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE).
Cognitively normal PD patients typically scored well on the capacity measures. In contrast, patients with impaired cognition were not capable of providing their own informed consent: 17% (5/30) on the drug trial and 3% (1/30) on the surgery trial were judged capable. Patients with borderline impairment showed adequate performance on measures of appreciation and reasoning, but impaired performance on understanding the drug trial compared with normal controls and normal PD patients, and on understanding the surgery trial compared with normal controls. Sixty-seven percent (20/30) on the drug trial and 57% (17/30) on the surgery trial were judged capable of consent. Receiver operating characteristic analyses showed that the MMSE and MoCA could detect the likelihood of impaired capacity, with the MoCA demonstrating greater sensitivity.
PD patients with borderline cognitive impairment have impairments in their decisional capacity. The MoCA may be useful to identify the patients at risk of impaired capacity.
PMCID: PMC3908465  PMID: 23892706
10.  Plasma Apolipoprotein A1 as a Biomarker for Parkinson's Disease 
Annals of neurology  2013;74(1):119-127.
To identify plasma-based biomarkers for Parkinson's Disease (PD) risk.
In a discovery cohort of 152 PD patients, plasma levels of 96 proteins were measured by multiplex immunoassay; proteins associated with age at PD onset were identified by linear regression. Findings from discovery screening were then assessed in a second cohort of 187 PD patients, using a different technique. Finally, in a third cohort of at-risk, asymptomatic individuals enrolled in the Parkinson's Associated Risk Study (PARS, n=134), plasma levels of the top candidate biomarker were measured, and dopamine transporter (DAT) imaging performed, to evaluate the association of plasma protein levels with dopaminergic system integrity.
One of the best candidate protein biomarkers to emerge from discovery screening was apolipoprotein A1 (ApoA1, p=0.001). Low levels of ApoA1 correlated with earlier PD onset, with a 26% decrease in risk of developing PD associated with each tertile increase in ApoA1 (Cox proportional hazards p<0.001, hazard ratio=0.742). The association between plasma ApoA1 levels and age at PD onset replicated in an independent cohort of PD patients (p<0.001). Finally, in the PARS cohort of high-risk, asymptomatic subjects, lower plasma levels of ApoA1 were associated with greater putaminal DAT deficit (p=0.037).
Lower ApoA1 levels correlate with dopaminergic system vulnerability in symptomatic PD patients and in asymptomatic individuals with physiological reductions in dopamine transporter density consistent with prodromal PD. Plasma ApoA1 may be a new biomarker for PD risk.
PMCID: PMC3773265  PMID: 23447138
11.  Association of Cerebrospinal Fluid β-Amyloid 1-42, T-tau, P-tau181, and α-Synuclein Levels With Clinical Features of Drug-Naive Patients With Early Parkinson Disease 
JAMA neurology  2013;70(10):1277-1287.
We observed a significant correlation between cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) levels of tau proteins and α-synuclein, but not β-amyloid 1–42 (Aβ1–42), and lower concentration of CSF biomarkers, as compared with healthy controls, in a cohort of entirely untreated patients with Parkinson disease (PD) at the earliest stage of the disease studied so far.
To evaluate the baseline characteristics and relationship to clinical features of CSF biomarkers (Aβ1–42, total tau [T-tau], tau phosphorylated at threonine 181 [P-tau181], and α-synuclein) in drug-naive patients with early PD and demographically matched healthy controls enrolled in the Parkinson’s Progression Markers Initiative (PPMI) study.
Design, Setting, and Participants
Cross-sectional study of the initial 102 research volunteers (63 patients with PD and 39 healthy controls) of the PPMI cohort.
Main Outcomes and Measures
The CSF biomarkers were measured by INNO-BIA AlzBio3 immunoassay (Aβ1–42, T-tau, and P-tau181; Innogenetics Inc) or by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (α-synuclein). Clinical features including diagnosis, demographic characteristics, motor, neuropsychiatric, and cognitive assessments, and DaTscan were systematically assessed according to the PPMI study protocol.
Slightly, but significantly, lower levels of Aβ1–42, T-tau, P-tau181, α-synuclein, and T-tau/Aβ1–42 were seen in subjects with PD compared with healthy controls but with a marked overlap between groups. Using multivariate regression analysis, we found that lower Aβ1–42 and P-tau181 levels were associated with PD diagnosis and that decreased CSF T-tau and α-synuclein were associated with increased motor severity. Notably, when we classified patients with PD by their motor phenotypes, lower CSF Aβ1–42 and P-tau181 concentrations were associated with the postural instability–gait disturbance–dominant phenotype but not with the tremor-dominant or intermediate phenotype. Finally, we found a significant correlation of the levels of α-synuclein with the levels of T-tau and P-tau181.
Conclusions and Relevance
In this first report of CSF biomarkers in PPMI study subjects, we found that measures of CSF Aβ1–42, T-tau, P-tau181, and α-synuclein have prognostic and diagnostic potential in early-stage PD. Further investigations using the entire PPMI cohort will test the predictive performance of CSF biomarkers for PD progression.
PMCID: PMC4034348  PMID: 23979011
12.  PET imaging of amyloid with Florbetapir F 18 and PET imaging of dopamine degeneration with 18F-AV-133 (florbenazine) in patients with Alzheimer’s disease and Lewy body disorders 
BMC Neurology  2014;14:79.
Biomarkers based on the underlying pathology of Alzheimer’s disease (AD) and Dementia with Lewy Bodies (DLB) have the potential to improve diagnosis and understanding of the substrate for cognitive impairment in these disorders. The objective of this study was to compare the patterns of amyloid and dopamine PET imaging in patients with AD, DLB and Parkinson’s disease (PD) using the amyloid imaging agent florbetapir F 18 and 18F-AV-133 (florbenazine), a marker for vesicular monamine type 2 transporters (VMAT2).
Patients with DLB and AD, Parkinson’s disease (PD) and healthy controls (HC) were recruited for this study. On separate days, subjects received intravenous injections of florbetapir, and florbenazine. Amyloid burden and VMAT2 density were assessed quantitatively and by binary clinical interpretation. Imaging results for both tracers were compared across the four individual diagnostic groups and for combined groups based on underlying pathology (AD/DLB vs. PD/HC for amyloid burden and PD/DLB vs. AD/HC for VMAT binding) and correlated with measures of cognition and parkinsonism.
11 DLB, 10 AD, 5 PD, and 5 controls participated in the study. Amyloid binding was significantly higher in the combined AD/DLB patient group (n = 21) compared to the PD/HC groups (n = 10, mean SUVr: 1.42 vs. 1.07; p = 0.0006). VMAT2 density was significantly lower in the PD/DLB group (n = 16) compared to the AD/ HC group (n = 15; 1.83 vs. 2.97; p < 0.0001). Within the DLB group, there was a significant correlation between cognitive performance and striatal florbenazine binding (r = 0.73; p = 0.011).
The results of this study show significant differences in both florbetapir and florbenazine imaging that are consistent with expected pathology. In addition, VMAT density correlated significantly with cognitive impairment in DLB patients ( identifier: NCT00857506, registered March 5, 2009).
PMCID: PMC4027995  PMID: 24716655
PET imaging; Alzheimer’s disease; Parkinson’s disease; Biomarkers
13.  Impairment of script comprehension in Lewy body spectrum disorders 
Brain and language  2013;125(3):330-343.
A disabling impairment of higher-order language function can be seen in patients with Lewy body spectrum disorders such as Parkinson's disease (PD), Parkinson's disease dementia (PDD), and dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB). We focus on script comprehension in patients with Lewy body spectrum disorders. While scripts unfold sequentially, constituent events are thought to contain an internal organization. Executive dysfunction in patients with Lewy body spectrum disorders may interfere with comprehension of this internal structure. We examined 42 patients (30 non-demented PD and 12 mildly demented PDD/DLB patients) and 12 healthy seniors. We presented 22 scripts (e.g., “going fishing”), each consisting of six events. Pilot data from young controls provided the basis for organizing associated events into clusters and arranging them hierarchically into scripts. We measured accuracy and latency to judge the order of adjacent events in the same cluster versus adjacent events in different clusters. PDD/DLB patients were less accurate in their ordering judgments than PD patients and controls. Healthy seniors and PD patients were significantly faster to judge correctly the order of highly associated within-cluster event pairs relative to less closely associated different-cluster event pairs, while PDD/DLB patients did not consistently distinguish between these event-pair types. This relative insensitivity to the clustered-hierarchical organization of events was related to executive impairment and to frontal atrophy as measured by volumetric MRI. These findings extend prior work on script processing to patients with Lewy body spectrum disorders and highlight the potential impact of frontal/executive dysfunction on the daily lives of affected patients.
PMCID: PMC3940934  PMID: 23566691
Parkinson's disease; Parkinson's disease dementia; Dementia with Lewy bodies; Frontal cortex; Executive function; Scripts; Organization; Discourse; Volumetric MRI
14.  Screening for impulse control symptoms in patients with de novo Parkinson disease 
Neurology  2013;80(2):176-180.
To determine the frequency and correlates of impulse control and related behavior symptoms in patients with de novo, untreated Parkinson disease (PD) and healthy controls (HCs).
The Parkinson's Progression Markers Initiative is an international, multisite, case-control clinical study conducted at 21 academic movement disorders centers. Participants were recently diagnosed, untreated PD patients (n = 168) and HCs (n = 143). The outcome measures were presence of current impulse control and related behavior symptoms based on recommended cutoff points for the Questionnaire for Impulsive-Compulsive Disorders in Parkinson's Disease (QUIP)-Short Form.
There were 311 participants with complete QUIP data. Frequencies of impulse control and related behavior symptoms for patients with PD vs HCs were as follows: gambling (1.2% vs 0.7%), buying (3.0% vs 2.1%), sexual behavior (4.2% vs 3.5%), eating (7.1% vs 10.5%), punding (4.8% vs 2.1%), hobbyism (5.4% vs 11.9%), walkabout (0.6% vs 0.7%), and any impulse control or related behavior (18.5% vs 20.3%). In multivariable models, a diagnosis of PD was not associated with symptoms of any impulse control or related behavior (p ≥ 0.10 in all cases).
PD itself does not seem to confer an increased risk for development of impulse control or related behavior symptoms, which further reinforces the reported association between PD medications and impulse control disorders in PD. Given that approximately 20% of patients with newly diagnosed PD report some impulse control or related behavior symptoms, long-term follow-up is needed to determine whether such patients are at increased risk for impulse control disorder development once PD medications are initiated.
PMCID: PMC3589192  PMID: 23296128
15.  Characteristics of patients misdiagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease and their medication use: an analysis of the NACC-UDS database 
BMC Geriatrics  2013;13:137.
This study compared individuals whose clinical diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease (AD) matched or did not match neuropathologic results at autopsy on clinical and functional outcomes (cognitive impairment, functional status and neuropsychiatric symptoms). The study also assessed the extent of potentially inappropriate medication use (using potentially unnecessary medications or potentially inappropriate prescribing) among misdiagnosed patients.
Longitudinal data from the National Alzheimer’s Coordinating Center Uniform Data Set (NACC-UDS, 2005–2010) and corresponding NACC neuropathological data were utilized to compare 88 misdiagnosed and 438 accurately diagnosed patients.
Following adjustment of sociodemographic characteristics, the misdiagnosed were found to have less severe cognitive and functional impairment. However, after statistical adjustment for sociodemographics, dementia severity level, time since onset of cognitive decline and probable AD diagnosis at baseline, the groups significantly differed on only one outcome: the misdiagnosed were less likely to be depressed/dysphoric. Among the misdiagnosed, 18.18% were treated with potentially inappropriate medication. An additional analysis noted this rate could be as high as 67.10%.
Findings highlight the importance of making an accurate AD diagnosis to help reduce unnecessary treatment and increase appropriate therapy. Additional research is needed to demonstrate the link between potentially inappropriate treatment and adverse health outcomes in misdiagnosed AD patients.
PMCID: PMC3878261  PMID: 24354549
Alzheimer disease; Diagnosis; Misdiagnosis; Autopsy; Neuropathology
16.  Research on the Premotor Symptoms of Parkinson’s Disease: Clinical and Etiological Implications 
Environmental Health Perspectives  2013;121(11-12):1245-1252.
Background: The etiology and natural history of Parkinson’s disease (PD) are not well understood. Some non-motor symptoms such as hyposmia, rapid eye movement sleep behavior disorder, and constipation may develop during the prodromal stage of PD and precede PD diagnosis by years.
Objectives: We examined the promise and pitfalls of research on premotor symptoms of PD and developed priorities and strategies to understand their clinical and etiological implications.
Methods: This review was based on a workshop, Parkinson’s Disease Premotor Symptom Symposium, held 7–8 June 2012 at the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences in Research Triangle Park, North Carolina.
Discussion: Research on premotor symptoms of PD may offer an excellent opportunity to characterize high-risk populations and to better understand PD etiology. Such research may lead to evaluation of novel etiological hypotheses such as the possibility that environmental toxicants or viruses may initiate PD pathogenesis in the gastrointestinal tract or olfactory bulb. At present, our understanding of premotor symptoms of PD is in its infancy and faces many obstacles. These symptoms are often not specific to PD and have low positive predictive value for early PD diagnosis. Further, the pathological bases and biological mechanisms of these premotor symptoms and their relevance to PD pathogenesis are poorly understood.
Conclusion: This is an emerging research area with important data gaps to be filled. Future research is needed to understand the prevalence of multiple premotor symptoms and their etiological relevance to PD. Animal experiments and mechanistic studies will further understanding of the biology of these premotor symptoms and test novel etiological hypothesis.
Citation: Chen H, Burton EA, Ross GW, Huang X, Savica R, Abbott RD, Ascherio A, Caviness JN, Gao X, Gray KA, Hong JS, Kamel F, Jennings D, Kirshner A, Lawler C, Liu R, Miller GW, Nussbaum R, Peddada SD, Comstock Rick A, Ritz B, Siderowf AD, Tanner CM, Tröster AI, Zhang J. 2013. Research on the premotor symptoms of Parkinson’s Disease: clinical and etiological implications. Environ Health Perspect 121:1245–1252;
PMCID: PMC3855519  PMID: 23933572
17.  Optimal Frequency for Measuring Health Care Resource Utilization in Parkinson’s Disease Using Participant Recall: The FS-TOO Resource Utilization Substudy 
Clinical therapeutics  2008;30(8):1553-1557.
The aim of this substudy was to determine the agreement between 2 approaches for measuring health care resource utilization (eg, number of hospital visits, number of primary care physician visits) in trial participants with Parkinson’s disease (PD).
A substudy of the 1-year multicenter futility trial of GPI-1485 and coenzyme Q10 (FS-TOO) was performed to assess health care resource utilization agreement by measuring participant utilization recall after 12 months versus measuring participant utilization recall at regular 3-month intervals. Trial participants were selected from patients in the National Institutes of Health-sponsored FS-TOO multicenter study. Persons aged ≥30 years with confirmed PD diagnosis within the previous 5 years were eligible for inclusion in the substudy. Participants were also required to have at least 2 of 3 cardinal manifestations of PD (tremor, rigidity, and bradykinesia). Participants were excluded from the study if they had presence of atypical Parkinson’s syndromes due to drugs, metabolic identified neurogenetic disorders, encephalitis, or other degenerative diseases. Agreement was determined using Lin’s concordance and Cohen’s kappa statistics.
Between March and July of 2004, a total of 424 potential subjects were identified and evaluated for trial eligibility. Of these, 213 subjects (139 men, 74 women; mean [SD] age, 61.5 [10.3] years) met entry criteria and were included in the study. Trial participants were randomized equally to 1 of 3 groups. The 3 groups had similar baseline characteristics in terms of demographic data (age, race, sex, employment status, and annual income), total Unified Parkinson Disease Rating Scale (UPDRS) score, and UPDRS subscores. In this substudy, 141 participants had a true baseline visit, indicating a clinical baseline date, and 182 participants completed the Baseline Resource Utilization Form within 3 months of the true baseline visit. The comparison of concordance between the summed information over 3-month recalls and the 12-month recall from baseline was derived from these 182 participants. The level of agreement between the 2 approaches was high, ranging from 64.4% to 95.1%. Where disagreement was identified, the more frequent measurement approach (every 3 months) led to higher estimates, ranging from 20.4% to 77.4%.
The results of this trial indicate internal consistency with the self-reported measures of health care resource utilization, suggesting that these simple measures might provide reliable information about units of health care resource utilization in the context of clinical trials for PD.
PMCID: PMC3773694  PMID: 18803996
health care resources; Parkinson’s disease; clinical trials
18.  Daytime sleepiness is associated with falls in Parkinson’s disease 
Journal of Parkinson's disease  2013;3(3):387-391.
Falls are frequent in Parkinson’s disease (PD), and may be influenced by daytime sleepiness. We reviewed the records of 120 men with PD. Mean Epworth Sleepiness Scale (ESS) values were significantly different between non-fallers and fallers (6.0 vs. 9.7, p<0.01). In multivariate analysis, ESS remained significantly associated with falls (OR 1.2, 95% CI 1.1–1.4, p=0.02), along with cognitive impairment (OR 4.4 95% CI 1.0–18.7, p=0.04) and postural instability/gait dysfunction (OR 1.6 95% CI 1.0–2.4, p=0.03) in non-depressed patients. In conclusion, non-depressed PD patients are 20% more likely to fall for every one unit increase in the ESS measure of sleepiness.
PMCID: PMC3772981  PMID: 23948992
Parkinson’s disease; falls; sleepiness; depression; cognitive impairment
19.  Can a screening questionnaire accurately identify Mild Parkinsonian Signs? 
Neuroepidemiology  2012;39(3-4):171-175.
Mild Parkinsonian Signs (MPS) are early features that, when present, increase risk of neurodegenerative disease and mortality. Current methods to identify MPS are limited to neurological examination. Our objective was to assess the ability of a 9-item Parkinson’s Disease Screening Questionnaire (PDSQ), which has high sensitivity in the detection of overt Parkinson’s disease (PD), to detect Mild Parkinsonian Signs.
Measures including the PDSQ, Unified Parkinson’s Disease Rating Scale and University of Pennsylvania Smell Identification Test were administered to 267 participants without neurodegenerative disease. Two published definitions of MPS were used to classify cases.
PDSQ scores were higher for cases compared to controls (p < 0.001 for the first case definition and 0.07 for the second). However, the questionnaire had low sensitivity (47 and 59%) and specificity (62 and 63%) in the detection of MPS. Adding factors such as age, gender, and smell test score to the questionnaire in a predictive model only marginally improved the test characteristics.
The results show the screening questionnaire does not accurately identify Mild Parkinsonian Signs. More accurate tests are needed to improve detection of this early syndrome which can lead to motor disability, neurodegenerative disease and mortality.
PMCID: PMC3513756  PMID: 22948126
Mild Parkinsonian Signs; screening questionnaire; validity; sensitivity; specificity
20.  Plasma multianalyte profiling in mild cognitive impairment and Alzheimer disease 
Neurology  2012;79(9):897-905.
While plasma biomarkers have been proposed to aid in the clinical diagnosis of Alzheimer disease (AD), few biomarkers have been validated in independent patient cohorts. Here we aim to determine plasma biomarkers associated with AD in 2 independent cohorts and validate the findings in the multicenter Alzheimer's Disease Neuroimaging Initiative (ADNI).
Using a targeted proteomic approach, we measured levels of 190 plasma proteins and peptides in 600 participants from 2 independent centers (University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia; Washington University, St. Louis, MO), and identified 17 analytes associated with the diagnosis of very mild dementia/mild cognitive impairment (MCI) or AD. Four analytes (apoE, B-type natriuretic peptide, C-reactive protein, pancreatic polypeptide) were also found to be altered in clinical MCI/AD in the ADNI cohort (n = 566). Regression analysis showed CSF Aβ42 levels and t-tau/Aβ42 ratios to correlate with the number of APOE4 alleles and plasma levels of B-type natriuretic peptide and pancreatic polypeptide.
Four plasma analytes were consistently associated with the diagnosis of very mild dementia/MCI/AD in 3 independent clinical cohorts. These plasma biomarkers may predict underlying AD through their association with CSF AD biomarkers, and the association between plasma and CSF amyloid biomarkers needs to be confirmed in a prospective study.
PMCID: PMC3425844  PMID: 22855860
21.  Costs of Parkinson’s Disease in a Privately Insured Population 
Pharmacoeconomics  2013;31(9):799-806.
This is the first analysis to estimate the costs of commercially insured patients with Parkinson’s disease (PD) in the USA. Prior analyses of PD have not examined costs in patients aged under 65 years, a majority of whom are in the workforce.
Our objective was to estimate direct and indirect costs associated with PD in patients under the age of 65 years who are newly diagnosed or have evidence of advanced PD.
PD patients were selected from a commercially insured claims database (N > 12,000,000; 1999–2009); workloss data were available for a sub-sample of enrollees. Newly diagnosed patients with evidence of similar disorders were excluded. Patients with evidence of advanced PD disease, including ambulatory assistance device users (PDAAD) and institutionalized (PDINST) patients, as well as newly diagnosed PD patients, were analyzed. Each PD cohort was age-, gender- and region-matched to controls without PD. Direct (i.e. insurer payments to providers) and indirect (i.e. workloss) costs were reported in $US, year 2010 values, and were descriptively compared using Wilcoxon rank sum tests.
Patients had excess mean direct PD-related costs of $US4,072 (p < 0.001; N = 781) in the year after diagnosis. The PDAAD cohort (N = 214) had excess direct PD-related costs of $US26,467 (p < 0.001) and the PDINST cohort (N = 156) had excess direct PD-related costs of $US37,410 (p < 0.001) in the year after entering these states. Outpatient care was the most expensive cost source for newly diagnosed patients, while inpatient care was the most expensive for PDAAD and PDINST patients. Excess indirect costs were $US3,311 (p < 0.05; N = 173) in the year after initial diagnosis.
Direct costs for newly diagnosed PD patients exceeded costs for controls without PD, and increased with PD progression. Direct costs were approximately 6–7 times higher in patients with advanced PD than in matched controls. Indirect costs represented 45 % of total excess costs for newly diagnosed PD patients.
PMCID: PMC3757266  PMID: 23907717
22.  Pre-Motor Parkinson’s Disease: Concepts and Definitions 
Movement Disorders  2012;27(5):608-616.
Parkinson’s disease (PD) has a prodromal phase during which non-motor clinical features as well as physiological abnormalities may be present. These pre-motor markers could be used to screen for PD before motor abnormalities are present. The technology to identify PD before it reaches symptomatic Braak Stage 3 (substantia nigra compacta (SNc) involvement) already exists. The current challenge is to define the appropriate scope of use of predictive testing for PD. Imaging technologies, like dopamine transporter imaging, currently offer the highest degree of accuracy for identifying pre-motor PD, but they are expensive as screening tools and abnormalities on these studies would only be evident at Braak Stage 3 or higher. Efficiency is greatly enhanced by combining imaging with a pre-screening test, such as olfactory testing. This two-step process has the potential to greatly reduce costs while retaining diagnostic accuracy. Alternatively, or in concert with this approach, evaluating high-risk populations (e.g. patients with rapid eye movement behavior disorder (RBD) or LRRK2 mutations) would enrich the sample for cases with underlying PD. Ultimately, the role of pre-clinical detection of PD will be determined by the ability of emerging therapies to influence clinical outcomes. As such, implementation of large-scale screening strategies awaits the arrival of clearly safe and effective therapies that address the underlying pathogenesis of PD. Future research will establish more definitive biomarkers capable of revealing the presence of disease in advance of SNc involvement with the promise of the potential for introducing disease modifying therapy even before the development of evidence for dopamine deficiency.
PMCID: PMC3335740  PMID: 22508279
Parkinson’s disease; early detection; sensitivity; specificity
23.  Mapping the EQ-5D index by UPDRS and PDQ-8 in patients with Parkinson’s disease 
Clinical studies employ the Unified Parkinson’s Disease Rating Scale (UPDRS) to measure the severity of Parkinson’s disease. Evaluations often fail to consider the health-related quality of life (HrQoL) or apply disease-specific instruments. Health-economic studies normally use estimates of utilities to calculate quality-adjusted life years. We aimed to develop an estimation algorithm for EuroQol- 5 dimensions (EQ-5D)-based utilities from the clinical UPDRS or disease-specific HrQoL data in the absence of original utilities estimates.
Linear and fractional polynomial regression analyses were performed with data from a study of Parkinson’s disease patients (n=138) to predict the EQ-5D index values from UPDRS and Parkinson’s disease questionnaire eight dimensions (PDQ-8) data. German and European weights were used to calculate the EQ-5D index. The models were compared by R2, the root mean square error (RMS), the Bayesian information criterion, and Pregibon’s link test. Three independent data sets validated the models.
The regression analyses resulted in a single best prediction model (R2: 0.713 and 0.684, RMS: 0.139 and 13.78 for indices with German and European weights, respectively) consisting of UPDRS subscores II, III, IVa-c as predictors. When the PDQ-8 items were utilised as independent variables, the model resulted in an R2 of 0.60 and 0.67. The independent data confirmed the prediction models.
The best results were obtained from a model consisting of UPDRS subscores II, III, IVa-c. Although a good model fit was observed, primary EQ-5D data are always preferable. Further validation of the prediction algorithm within large, independent studies is necessary prior to its generalised use.
PMCID: PMC3662160  PMID: 23497005
Parkinson’s disease; Quality of life; EuroQoL/EQ-5D; UPDRS; PDQ-8; Prediction
24.  Screening Questionnaires for Parkinsonism: A Systematic Review 
Parkinsonism & related disorders  2011;18(3):216-224.
Parkinson’s disease (PD) is a common, treatable movement disorder that often remains undiagnosed despite clinically manifest symptoms. Screening for parkinsonism could lead to improved detection and earlier treatment, and facilitate research studies of PD prevalence. In order to determine the feasibility of screening, this study evaluated the validity of previously developed screening questionnaires. We systematically searched online databases PubMed and EMBASE for English-language studies published between 1980 and 2009. In each database a “Parkinson(s) disease” or “parkinsonism” term was combined with a screening term (“screening instrument,” screening questionnaire,” “screen” or “prevalence survey”) and a validity term (“validation,” “sensitivity” and “specificity”). Included studies reported the psychometric properties of at least one self-report questionnaire for parkinsonism. Twenty-seven studies met the inclusion criteria. From these studies, 9 screening questionnaires were identified. Sensitivity and specificity estimates varied widely. Sensitivity estimates were as high as 100% when questionnaires were tested among previously diagnosed PD patients and included a high number of parkinsonism-specific items, but were as low as 48% when tested among early cases in a community-based sample. Specificity estimates were lower, ranging from 22–100%. An older sample, presence of multiple co-morbid conditions and lower literacy led to lower specificity estimates. Higher specificity estimates were seen when the screening questionnaires were administered by a physician. Screening questionnaires can detect symptomatic parkinsonism. However, the performance of these questionnaires varied based on the individual items, study sample, and method of administration. The performance of screening questionnaires in the detection of early or mild parkinsonism was modest.
PMCID: PMC3253331  PMID: 21930414
Parkinson’s disease; early detection; instruments; sensitivity; specificity
Brain and Cognition  2012;78(2):85-93.
Prior work has related sentence processing to executive deficits in non-demented patients with Parkinson’s disease (PD). We extended this investigation to patients with dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB) and PD dementia (PDD) by examining grammatical and working memory components of sentence processing in the full range of patients with Lewy body spectrum disorder (LBSD). Thirty-three patients with LBSD were given a two-alternative, forced-choice sentence-picture matching task. Sentence type, working memory, and grammatical structure were systematically manipulated in the sentences. We found that patients with PDD and DLB were significantly impaired relative to non-demented PD patients and healthy controls. The deficit in PDD/DLB was most pronounced for sentences lengthened by the strategic placement of an additional prepositional phrase and for sentences with an additional proposition due to a center-embedded clause. However, there was no effect for subject-relative versus object-relative grammatical structure. An MRI voxel-based morphometry analysis in a subset of patients showed significant gray matter thinning in the frontal lobe bilaterally, and this extended to temporal, parietal and occipital regions. A regression analysis related sentence processing difficulty in LBSD to frontal neocortex, including inferiorprefrontal, premotor, and dorsolateral prefrontal regions, as well as right superior temporal cortex. These findings are consistent with the hypothesis that patients with PDD and DLB have difficulty processing sentences with increased working memory demands and that this deficit is related in part to their frontal disease.
PMCID: PMC3265703  PMID: 22218297
Lewy body; Parkinson’s; sentence processing; working memory; MRI; prefrontal

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