Variation in Recent Onset Parkinson's Disease: Implications for Prodromal Detection

Diane M. A. Swallow* (Corresponding Author), Michael A Lawton, Katherine A. Grosset, Naveed Malek, Callum R. Smith, Nin P. Bajaj, Roger A. Barker, Yoav Ben-Shlomo, David J. Burn, Thomas Foltynie, John Hardy, Huw R. Morris, Nigel Williams, Nicholas W. Wood, Donald G. Grosset, PRoBaND Clinical Consortium

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Citations (Scopus)
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BACKGROUND: The detection of prodromal Parkinson's disease (PD) is desirable to test drugs with neuroprotective potential, but will be affected by known disease variations.

OBJECTIVE: To assess the prevalence of four key non-motor prodromal PD markers, and evaluate the sensitivity of case detection when non-motor screening tools for prodromal PD are implemented in an early clinical PD cohort.

METHODS: Hyposmia (University of Pennsylvania smell identification test ≤15th centile or Sniffin' Sticks at or ≤10th centile corrected for age and sex), rapid-eye movement sleep behaviour disorder (RBD questionnaire >4), constipation (<1 daily spontaneous bowel motion) and depression (Leeds >6) were recorded in recent onset PD cases, and proposed non-motor screening criteria applied.

RESULTS: In 1,719 PD cases, mean age 68.6 years (SD 8.1), 65.5% male, mean disease duration 1.3 years (SD 0.9), 72.2% were hyposmic, 43.3% had RBD, 22.1% depression, and 21.5% constipation. 11.6% of cases had no key non-motor features, 38.8% one, 32.1% two, 15.5% three, and 2.0% all four. Increasing numbers of non-motor features were associated with younger age (p = 0.019), higher motor scores (p < 0.001), more postural instability gait difficulty (PIGD) (p < 0.001), greater cognitive impairment (p < 0.001) and higher total non-motor burden (p < 0.001). Cases with hyposmia alone were younger (p < 0.001), had less severe cognitive (p = 0.006) and other non-motor features (p < 0.001). All screening criteria selected younger patients (p = 0.001, p < 0.001), three of four greater overall non-motor burden (p = 0.005, p < 0.001), and inclusion of RBD more cognitive impairment (p = 0.003, p = 0.001) and PIGD (p = 0.004, p = 0.001).

CONCLUSIONS: Varying sensitivity levels, and age and phenotype selectivity, are found when different non-motor screening methods to detect prodromal PD are applied to an early clinical PD cohort.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)289-300
Number of pages12
Journal Journal of Parkinson's Disease
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 26 May 2016

Bibliographical note

The research was funded by Parkinson’s UK and supported by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) DeNDRoN network, the NIHR Newcastle Biomedical Research Unit based at Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and Newcastle University, and the NIHR funded Biomedical Research Centre in Cambridge.


  • Parkinson disease
  • anosmia
  • rapid eye movement sleep behavior disorder
  • depression
  • constipation


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