09:08pm Sunday 13 October 2019

Inflammation linked to cognitive impairment, fatigue and depression in Parkinson’s disease

Symptoms such as depression, fatigue and cognitive impairment are increasingly in focus for Parkinson’s research. Current research shows that these ‘non-motor’ complaints affect patients’ quality of life to the same extent as the characteristic movement problems.

The study, which has been published in the journal Brain, Behaviour, and Immunity, represents one of the largest control studies to date in which researchers have looked at differences in the levels of inflammatory markers in the spinal fluid of people with Parkinson’s disease and that of healthy individuals. The results showed that the highest inflammatory activity was in the patients who suffered the most serious symptoms of depression, fatigue and cognitive impairment.

“We have been able to establish that high levels of inflammatory substances in spinal fluid are linked to more distinct symptoms of depression, fatigue and cognitive impairment in patients with Parkinson’s disease. This means that we can now proceed to study in more detail the causal connection between inflammation and specific symptoms”, says Daniel Lindqvist, a postdoctoral fellow at Lund University.

Depression, fatigue and cognitive impairment in Parkinson’s disease are often difficult to treat. Oskar Hansson, Associate Professor at Lund University, hopes that the results could form an important building block for further research that aims to develop new therapies.

“The results are very interesting, but it is too early to make any recommendations such as anti-inflammatory drugs for Parkinson’s disease. Such studies are still needed. However, we are of course working towards that goal. In the long run, the findings could pave the way for future treatments that specifically target symptoms of depression and cognitive impairment in Parkinson’s disease”, says Oskar Hansson.

Cerebrospinal fluid inflammatory markers in Parkinson’s disease – Associations with depression, fatigue, and cognitive impairment
Authors: Lindqvist, D., Hall, S., Surova, Y., Nielsen, H. M., Janelidze, S., Brundin, L., Hansson, O.
Brain, Behaviour, and Immunity

Dr Daniel Lindqvist, Resident in Psychiatry; Postdoc at Lund University
+46 46 174032

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