Background: There are few established predictors of the clinical course of PD. Prognostic markers would be useful for clinical care and research.
Objective: To identify predictors of long-term motor and cognitive outcomes and rate of progression in PD.
Methods: Newly diagnosed PD participants were followed for 7 years in a prospective study, conducted at 55 centers in the United States and Canada. Analyses were conducted in 244 participants with complete demographic, clinical, genetic, and dopamine transporter imaging data. Machine learning dynamic Bayesian graphical models were used to identify and simulate predictors and outcomes. The outcomes rate of cognition changes are assessed by the Montreal Cognitive Assessment scores, and rate of motor changes are assessed by UPDRS part-III.
Results: The most robust and consistent longitudinal predictors of cognitive function included older age, baseline Unified Parkinson's Disease Rating Scale (UPDRS) parts I and II, Schwab and England activities of daily living scale, striatal dopamine transporter binding, and SNP rs11724635 in the gene BST1. The most consistent predictor of UPDRS part III was baseline level of activities of daily living (part II). Key findings were replicated using long-term data from an independent cohort study.
Conclusions: Baseline function near the time of Parkinson's disease diagnosis, as measured by activities of daily living, is a consistent predictor of long-term motor and cognitive outcomes. Additional predictors identified may further characterize the expected course of Parkinson's disease and suggest mechanisms underlying disease progression. The prognostic model developed in this study can be used to simulate the effects of the prognostic variables on motor and cognitive outcomes, and can be replicated and refined with data from independent longitudinal studies.