Distinct progression patterns across Parkinson disease clinical subtypes

Ann Clin Transl Neurol. 2021 Aug;8(8):1695-1708. doi: 10.1002/acn3.51436. Epub 2021 Jul 26.


Objective: To examine specific symptom progression patterns and possible disease staging in Parkinson disease clinical subtypes.

Methods: We recently identified Parkinson disease clinical subtypes based on comprehensive behavioral evaluations, "Motor Only," "Psychiatric & Motor," and "Cognitive & Motor," which differed in dementia and mortality rates. Parkinson disease participants ("Motor Only": n = 61, "Psychiatric & Motor": n = 17, "Cognitive & Motor": n = 70) and controls (n = 55) completed longitudinal, comprehensive motor, cognitive, and psychiatric evaluations (average follow-up = 4.6 years). Hierarchical linear modeling examined group differences in symptom progression. A three-way interaction among time, group, and symptom duration (or baseline age, separately) was incorporated to examine disease stages.

Results: All three subtypes increased in motor dysfunction compared to controls. The "Motor Only" subtype did not show significant cognitive or psychiatric changes compared to the other two subtypes. The "Cognitive & Motor" subtype's cognitive dysfunction at baseline further declined compared to the other two subtypes, while also increasing in psychiatric symptoms. The "Psychiatric & Motor" subtype's elevated psychiatric symptoms at baseline remained steady or improved over time, with mild, steady decline in cognition. The pattern of behavioral changes and analyses for disease staging yielded no evidence for sequential disease stages.

Interpretation: Parkinson disease clinical subtypes progress in clear, temporally distinct patterns from one another, particularly in cognitive and psychiatric features. This highlights the importance of comprehensive clinical examinations as the order of symptom presentation impacts clinical prognosis.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Cognitive Dysfunction / etiology
  • Cognitive Dysfunction / physiopathology*
  • Disease Progression*
  • Dyskinesias / etiology
  • Dyskinesias / physiopathology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neuropsychological Tests
  • Parkinson Disease / classification*
  • Parkinson Disease / complications
  • Parkinson Disease / physiopathology*