Objective: Depression is a common neuropsychiatric syndrome in Parkinson's disease (PD), and may be etiologically related to the neurochemical changes accompanying this disease. It is still unclear whether the disturbances of neurotransmitter activities lead to a specific profile of depressive symptoms, that is characteristic for PD and differs from that in depressed patients without PD.
Method: We compared the individual depressive symptoms of 145 non-demented depressed patients with PD and 100 depressed patients without PD by comparing item scores on the Montgomery-Asberg Depression Rating Scale by way of MANCOVA.
Results: The severity of depression and the level of cognitive functioning in depressed PD patients were comparable with that of depressed control subjects. However, patients with PD showed significant less reported sadness, less anhedonia, less feelings of guilt and, slightly less loss of energy, but more concentration problems than depressed control subjects.
Conclusion: The profile of depressive symptoms in PD differs from that in depressed subjects without PD. This finding is important for the conceptualisation and clinical diagnosis of depression in PD.