The PRIPS study: screening battery for subjects at risk for Parkinson's disease



Background and purpose

Screening batteries to narrow down a target-at-risk population are essential for trials testing neuroprotective compounds aiming to delay or prevent onset of Parkinson's disease (PD).


The PRIPS study focuses on early detection of incident PD in 1847 at baseline PD-free subjects, and assessed age, male gender, positive family history, hyposmia, subtle motor impairment and enlarged substantia nigra hyperechogenicity (SN+).


After 3 years follow-up 11 subjects had developed PD. In this analysis of the secondary outcome parameters, sensitivity and specificity of baseline markers for incident PD were calculated in 1352 subjects with complete datasets (10 PD patients). The best approach for prediction of incident PD comprised three steps: (i) prescreening for age, (ii) primary screening for positive family history and/or hyposmia, and (iii) secondary screening for SN+.


With this approach, one out of 16 positively screened participants developed PD compared to one out of 135 in the original cohort. This corresponds to a sensitivity of 80.0%, a specificity of 90.6% and a positive predictive value of 6.1%. These values are higher than for any single screening instrument but still too low for a feasible and cost-effective screening strategy which might require longer follow-up intervals and application of additional instruments.