Brain-Area Specific White Matter Hyperintensities: Associations to Falls in Parkinson's Disease

J Parkinsons Dis. 2018;8(3):455-462. doi: 10.3233/JPD-181351.


Background: Falls are common among people with idiopathic Parkinson's disease (IPD) and are suggested to be associated with white matter hyperintensities (WMH) of the brain.

Objective: To investigate the contribution of brain area-specific WMH to the risk of falls in IPD.

Methods: In fifty participants with IPD, occurrence and severity of WMH in specific brain areas were determined using Scheltens (without lateralization) and Age-related white matter changes (ARWMC) (with lateralization) scores. Falls were evaluated with the fall item of the Unified PD Rating Scale (UPDRS). Correlations between area-specific WMH and falls were tested with stepwise backward regression and multivariate regression analyses.

Results: In this cohort of participants with IPD, left temporal WMH were associated with occurrence of falls. Frontal WMH of both hemispheres showed tendencies towards significance for the association with falls.

Conclusion: According to our study, WMH in the left temporal area are significantly associated with falls in IPD. Potential reasons for this association could be deficits in memory, navigation, orientation, auditory processing, and fear conditioning, which are all associated with pathologies of the left temporal lobe.

Keywords: Accidental falls; leukoencephalopathies; temporal lobe.

MeSH terms

  • Accidental Falls*
  • Aged
  • Brain / diagnostic imaging*
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Parkinson Disease / diagnostic imaging*
  • White Matter / diagnostic imaging*