Familial aggregation of Parkinson's disease may affect progression of motor symptoms and dementia

Mov Disord. 2017 Feb;32(2):241-245. doi: 10.1002/mds.26856. Epub 2016 Nov 10.


Background: Familial aggregation has been described in PD of both early and late onset, but has not been studied in a true population-based sample. Moreover, little is known about its association with disease progression and endophenotypes.

Objectives: The objectives of this work were to determine familial aggregation of idiopathic PD in a population-based cohort and study the association with clinical endophenotypes and disease progression.

Methods: We examined family history data from the Norwegian ParkWest study, a well-characterized, population-based cohort of incident PD patients and age-matched healthy controls. Family data were collected at baseline with a simplified questionnaire (192 cases and 193 controls) and after 3 years of longitudinal follow-up using an extended questionnaire (172 cases and 171 controls).

Results: Compared to the controls, the PD patients had an increased relative risk of having a first-degree relative with PD when using the extended questionnaire (relative risk = 1.988; P = 0.036), but not when using the simplified questionnaire (relative risk = 1.453; P = 0.224). There was no significant difference in age of onset or motor subtype (P = 0.801). However, cases with a family history of PD had reduced progression over 7 years as measured by UPDRS II (P = 0.008) and smaller rate of decrease of MMSE (P = 0.046).

Conclusions: Our findings confirm familial aggregation in a population-based cohort of idiopathic PD. Moreover, we show that positive family history of PD in patients is associated with a slower progression of PD symptoms and cognitive decline. © 2016 International Parkinson and Movement Disorder Society.

Keywords: Parkinson's disease; disease characteristics; familial aggregation; family history; first-degree relatives; genetics; prospective cohort.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Age of Onset
  • Aged
  • Dementia / epidemiology*
  • Dementia / etiology
  • Disease Progression*
  • Endophenotypes
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mental Status and Dementia Tests
  • Middle Aged
  • Norway / epidemiology
  • Parkinson Disease / complications
  • Parkinson Disease / epidemiology*
  • Pedigree*
  • Severity of Illness Index*