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Keywords:

  • Parkinson's disease;
  • nonmotor;
  • Unified Parkinson's Disease Rating Scale;
  • questionnaire;
  • quality of life

Abstract

Nonmotor symptoms (NMS) of Parkinson's disease (PD) are not well recognized in clinical practice, either in primary or in secondary care, and are frequently missed during routine consultations. There is no single instrument (questionnaire or scale) that enables a comprehensive assessment of the range of NMS in PD both for the identification of problems and for the measurement of outcome. Against this background, a multidisciplinary group of experts, including patient group representatives, has developed an NMS screening questionnaire comprising 30 items. This instrument does not provide an overall score of disability and is not a graded or rating instrument. Instead, it is a screening tool designed to draw attention to the presence of NMS and initiate further investigation. In this article, we present the results from an international pilot study assessing feasibility, validity, and acceptability of a nonmotor questionnaire (NMSQuest). Data from 123 PD patients and 96 controls were analyzed. NMS were highly significantly more prevalent in PD compared to controls (PD NMS, median = 9.0, mean = 9.5 vs. control NMS, median = 5.5, mean = 4.0; Mann–Whitney, Kruskal–Wallis, and t test, P < 0.0001), with PD patients reporting at least 10 different NMS on average per patient. In PD, NMS were highly significantly more prevalent across all disease stages and the number of symptoms correlated significantly with advancing disease and duration of disease. Furthermore, frequently, problems such as diplopia, dribbling, apathy, blues, taste and smell problems were never previously disclosed to the health professionals. © 2006 Movement Disorder Society