Among patients with Parkinson's disease (PD), a wide range of motor and non-motor symptoms (NMS) are evident. PD is often divided into tremor dominant (TD) and postural instability gait difficulty (PIGD) motor subtypes. We evaluated the effect of disease duration and aimed to characterize whether there are differences in the deterioration of cognitive function and other NMS between the PIGD and TD subtypes. Sixty-three subjects were re-evaluated at the follow-up visit about 5 years after baseline examination. Cognitive function and other NMS were assessed. At follow-up, the PIGD and TD groups were similar with respect to medications, comorbidities and disease-related symptoms. There was a significant time effect for all measures, indicating deterioration and worsening in both groups. However, cognitive scores, particularly those related to executive function, became significantly worse in the PIGD with a more moderate decrease in the TD group. For example, the computerized global cognitive score declined in the PIGD group from 94.21 ± 11.88 to 83.91 ± 13.76, p < 0.001. This decline was significantly larger (p = 0.03) than the decrease observed in the TD group (96.56 ± 10.29 to 92.21 ± 14.20, p = 0.047). A significant group × time interaction effect was found for the change in global cognitive score (p = 0.047), the executive function index (p = 0.002) and accuracy on a motor-cognitive catch game (p = 0.008). In contrast, several NMS including depression, health-related quality of life and fear of falling deteriorated in parallel in both subtypes, with no interaction effect. The present findings highlight the difference in the natural history of the disease between the two PD "motor" subtypes. While the PIGD group demonstrated a significant cognitive decline, especially in executive functions, a more favorable course was observed in the TD subtype. This behavior was not seen in regards to the other NMS.
Keywords: Cognitive decline; Motor subtypes; Non-motor symptoms; PIGD; Parkinson’s disease; Prospective.