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Combined effect of age and severity on the risk of dementia in Parkinson's disease

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Abstract

Age and severity of extrapyramidal signs have been consistently associated with incident dementia in Parkinson's disease. We evaluated the separate and combined effects of age and severity of extrapyramidal signs on the risk of incident dementia in Parkinson's disease in the setting of a population-based prospective cohort study. Age and the total Unified Parkinson's Disease Rating Scale motor score at baseline evaluation were dichotomized at the median. Four groups of Parkinson's disease patients were defined: younger age/low severity (reference), younger age/high severity, older age/low severity, and older age/high severity. Risk ratios for incident dementia were calculated with Cox proportional hazards models controlling for gender, education, ethnicity, and duration of Parkinson's disease. Of 180 patients, 52 (28.9%) became demented during a mean follow-up period of 3.6 ± 2.2 years. The median age at baseline of the Parkinson's disease patients was 71.8 years (range, 38.5–95.9 years), and the median total Unified Parkinson's Disease Rating Scale motor score was 24 (range, 2–65). The group with older age/high severity had a significantly increased risk of incident dementia (relative risk, 9.7; 95% confidence interval, 3.9–24.4) compared with the group with younger age/low severity (reference), whereas the groups with older age/low severity (relative risk, 1.6; 95% confidence interval, 0.5–4.8) and younger age/high severity (relative risk, 1.2; 95% confidence interval, 0.5–3.2) did not. These findings suggest that the increased risk of incident dementia in Parkinson's disease associated with age and severity of extrapyramidal signs is related primarily to their combined effect rather than separate effects.

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