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Keywords:

  • hyperhidrosis;
  • sweating;
  • Parkinson's disease;
  • sympathetic skin response;
  • autonomic nervous system

Abstract

We studied the sudomotor skin response (SSR) in patients with Parkinson's disease with and without symptomatic hyperhidrosis. The study was carried out in 13 patients who complained of excessive sweating and in 37 patients who did not have excessive sweating. Patients were matched for age, sex, degree of impairment, duration of the disease, and number and severity of autonomic disturbances. Excessive sweating involved mainly the face, head, and trunk. The SSR was recorded from the palm of the hands to electrical stimulation of the median nerve at the wrist. We analyzed onset latency, peak to peak amplitude, and waveform. Patients with hyperhidrosis had more often absent responses (χ2 = 5.292; P = 0.021), their responses were of lower mean amplitude (analysis of variance [ANOVA]; F[2,101] = 11.678; P < 0.001), and they had a reduced number of responses with a predominantly negative component (χ2 = 8.493; P = 0.004) than patients who did not complain of sweating disturbances. Our results indicate that excessive sweating in Parkinson's disease concurs with decreased activation of sweat glands in the palms of the hands and suggests that axial hyperhidrosis could be a compensatory phenomenon for reduced sympathetic function in the extremities. © 2006 Movement Disorder Society