Background: Parkinson's disease (PD) is a progressive neurodegenerative motor disorder. However, non-motor complications frequently alter the course of the disease. A particularly disabling non-motor symptom is dementia.
Methods/design: The study is designed as a multicentre prospective, observational cohort study of about 700 PD patients aged 45-80 years with or without dementia and PD-mild cognitive impairment (MCI). The patients will be recruited in eight specialized movement disorder clinics and will be followed for 36 months. Information about the patients' functional status will be assessed at baseline and 6-/12- month intervals. In addition, 120 patients with dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB) will be included. Well-established standardized questionnaires/tests will be applied for detailed neuropsychological assessment. In addition, patients will be asked to participate in modules including volumetric MRI, genetic parameters, and neuropsychology to detect risk factors, early diagnostic biomarkers and predictors for dementia in PD.
Results: The study included 604 PD patients by March 2011; 56.3% were classified as having PD alone, with 30.6% of patients suffering from PD-MCI and 13.1% from PD with dementia. The mean age of the cohort was 68.6 ± 7.9 years, with a mean disease duration of 6.8 ± 5.4 years. There was a preponderance of patients in the earlier Hoehn and Yahr stages.
Conclusion: The main aim of the study is to characterize the natural progression of cognitive impairment in PD and to identify factors which contribute to the evolution and/or progression of the cognitive impairment. To accomplish this aim we established a large cohort of PD patients without cognitive dysfunction, PD patients with MCI, and PD patients with dementia, to characterize these patients in a standardized manner, using imaging (serial structural MRI), genetic and proteomic methods in order to improve our understanding of the course of the PD process and the development of cognitive dysfunction and dementia in this disease. The inclusion of the DLB patients will start in the second quarter of 2011 in the BMBF-funded follow-up project LANDSCAPE.
Copyright © 2011 S. Karger AG, Basel.