The Parkinson’s Outcomes Project, the largest study of its kind, included 5,500 diagnosed patients in four countries. About 50 percent of those with Parkinson’s experience depression, a higher rate than with other diseases, the study indicated. But, fatigue and other physicial symptoms of Parkinson’s can mask signals of depression, leading to undertreatment or a lack of depression recognition, the foundation researchers noted.
The study highlights the important of regular depression screening in long-term care facilities and careful monitoring of mood changes by nursing caregivers. The foundation also urges additional communication between a resident’s Parkinson’s physician and daily caregivers, including familiy members who may be able to share additional details on mood changes.
Parkinson’s disease affects about 1 million Americans and is the second-most common neuro-degenerative disease after Alzheimer’s disease. Most cases are diagnoses between the ages of 55 and 65.