Objective: Recent literature suggests that diabetes is a risk factor for Parkinson disease (PD). We investigated the clinical features of patients with idiopathic PD (IPD) in whom the onset of diabetes came first.
Methods: We designed a case-control study. From the cohort of all new patients with IPD free of vascular disease (n = 783) admitted and evaluated at our institute over a 3-year period (2007-2010), we included all the patients with a diagnosis of diabetes prior to PD onset (n = 89) and a control group (n = 89) matched (1:1) for gender, body mass index (± 1 kg/m(2)), and duration of PD (± 1 year). The Unified Parkinson's Disease Rating Scale (UPDRS) motor score was the primary endpoint.
Results: At study entry, patients with diabetes were similar to controls in terms of most demographic, lifestyle, and general medical features with exception of statins (18% vs 3.4%; p = 0.003). However, diabetes was associated with higher UPDRS motor (22.3 ± 9.0 vs 19.3 ± 7.9; p = 0.019) and activities of daily living (9.7 ± 5.1 vs 8.3 ± 4.3; p = 0.049) scores, more severe Hoehn & Yahr staging (p = 0.009), and higher treatment doses of levodopa (mg/day, 448 ± 265 vs 300 ± 213; p < 0.0001; mg/kg/day, 5.8 ± 4.0 vs 3.8 ± 2.9; p < 0.0001).
Conclusions: Onset of diabetes before the onset of PD appears to be a risk factor for more severe PD symptoms. These findings support the hypothesis that diabetes has a role in the etiopathogenesis of PD. Neurologists should be aware of the potential impact of diabetes on overall PD management.