Parkinson’s Disease Study Finds Possible Delay to Depression, Dementia

Parkinson's Disease

According to findings in a recent study, when taking Vitamin D in high dosages, patients with Parkinson’s Disease develop better moods and thinking. This can in turn lead to an alternative in possibly delaying or preventing dementia, along with depression.

Parkinson’s Disease (PD) is a progressive movement disorder, which worsens over time. The motor symptoms of an individual is affected due to the death of cells that generate dopamine, which is responsible for coordination. Common symptoms include rigidity, shakiness and slowness of movement.

Another common symptom of Parkinson’s Disease that many people are not aware of and is not talked about as much as it should is depression. Late last year it was found by the Parkinson’s Disease Foundation that up to 60% of PD patients have mild to moderate depression, in many instances, they are undiagnosed. Whether depression is a reaction to having the disease or a reflection of changes in the brain caused by Parkinson’s disease is still unknown.

The findings, in a study released by theĀ Journal of Parkinson’s Disease, found that vitamin D raises a possible prevention or delay to the invisible symptom of depression for many Parkinson’s Disease patients. Researchers analyzed around 300 PD patients with high levels of Vitamin D and found they experienced physical symptoms that were less severe, along with the ability to think better and they had less of a risk for depression. The connection between the vitamin and less severe symptoms was found to apply most especially to patients who do not have dementia, which is another symptom of Parkinson’s Disease. In the news release for the Journal of Parkinson’s Disease, Dr. Amie Peterson said that the percentage of Parkinson’s Disease patients who suffer from dementia or cognitive impairment is about 30 percent. These PD patients with dementia tend to have a life expectancy that is shorter and Vitamin D can possibly reduce the risk of getting the symptom.

The main source of Vitamin D is from sunlight and it can be consumed through fatty fish and certain supplements. However, due to the debilitating nature of Parkinson’s Disease, there is a possibility that many patients would not be able to get enough sunlight, and thus, not have as much Vitamin D. Furthermore, this study did not look at patients with low levels of Vitamin D to understand both sides of the coin, however, there was a study done in Southeastern United States that found lower levels of vitamin D in people with PD as opposed to people without PD. It was always found in Finland that found higher levels of Vitamin D was associated with a reduced risk of getting PD.

According to the Parkinson’s Disease Foundation, an estimated seven to 10 million people around the globe are living with PD, and in the U.S. approximately 60,000 Americans are diagnosed with the disease each year. Moreover, the average cost of medication for an individual with PD is $2500 a year, along with therapeutic surgery that adds up to $100,000 per patient. If the findings in the study proves to be widespread beyond the 300 participants, the possible prevention or delay of depression or dementia could lead to less severe motor symptoms, and thus helping lessen the costs of medication for Parkinson’s patients.

By Kollin Lore

Sources

JPD
Health Day via Philly
Vitamin D Council