Depression may be a more common occurrence in the early stages of Parkinson's disease than in the rest of the population, according to a recent US study.1
The research was produced by several US universities, comparing people with newly diagnosed Parkinson's disease and a healthy control group. This comparison took place over a two-year period to monitor how the disease and its symptoms developed.
The study found that depression, apathy, fatigue and anxiety were common around the time of diagnosis, although the researchers could not be sure if they were directly linked to the development of the disease.
Around 14% of the group with Parkinson's were found to be depressed at the beginning of the study, which increased to 18.7% at the end of the two years. Only 6.6% of the healthy group were found to be depressed. This also suggested it is unlikely that depression and other mental health symptoms are caused by Parkinson's treatment, as has been considered previously.
1 de la Riva P, Smith K, Xie SX, et al. Course of psychiatric symptoms and global cognition in early Parkinson disease. Neurology. Published online August 15 2014