Objectives: To estimate the frequency and determine the risk factors for incident dementia in community-dwelling patients with Parkinson's disease (PD) and in control subjects.
Design: Prospective cohort study. During a 3.5-year period, 140 patients with idiopathic PD without evidence of dementia and 572 nondemented control subjects were identified in the community of Washington Heights-Inwood in New York, NY. All subjects underwent neurological and neuropsychological evaluations and follow-up examinations.
Results: Twenty-seven patients with PD (19.2%) became demented throughout 2 years, as compared with 87 (15.2%) of the control subjects. The relative risk (RR) for the development of dementia with PD was 1.7 (95% confidence interval [CI], 1.1 to 2.7) after adjusting for age, education, and gender. Predictive features of incident dementia were an extrapyramidal score greater than 25 (RR, 3.56; 95% CI, 1.4 to 8.9) and a Hamilton Depression Rating Scale score greater than 10 (RR, 3.55; 95% CI, 1.6 to 7.9).
Conclusion: Patients with PD, especially those with severe extrapyramidal signs, have almost twice the risk for the development of dementia than do community-dwelling control subjects.