People with Parkinson's disease (PD) have an increased risk of developing dementia (PDD), which often has clinical features similar to dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB). Whilst perfusion studies have shown parieto-occipital hypoperfusion in DLB and PDD relative to controls, there have not been any longitudinal studies of perfusion changes in PDD and DLB.
In this study, we measured brain perfusion using Tc99m HMPAO SPECT over one year in 17 PDD, 18 DLB and 34 healthy subjects. We used SPM99 to compare perfusion changes in the two dementia groups against the control group.
We did not see any reductions in perfusion in either of the dementia groups. However, in the DLB, but not PDD group, there was a significant increase in putamen perfusion relative to controls over the year. In both DLB and PDD groups, there was a correlation between striatal perfusion increase over the year, and worsening of parkinsonism. Perfusion changes were not secondary to changes in antiparkinsonian medication.
The increase in striatal perfusion may be a compensatory change related to decreasing striatal dopaminergic input from the substantia nigra in PDD and DLB, consistent with the increased predominance of rigidity over tremor symptoms in these groups compared with non-demented PD. Copyright © 2005 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.