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Depression Often Left Untreated In Parkinson's Disease: Study

Update Date: Aug 17, 2014 12:21 AM EDT
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Although depression is one of the common symptoms of Parkinson's disease, it remains untreated for many patients, according to a new study. 

In fact, depression is the most prevalent non-motor symptom of Parkinson's, a chronic neurodegenerative disorder typically associated with movement dysfunction, the press release added. 

"We confirmed suspicion that depression is a very common symptom in Parkinson's disease. Nearly a quarter of the people in the study reported symptoms consistent with depression," Danny Bega, MD, '14 GME, instructor in the Ken and Ruth Davee Department of Neurology and first author of the study, said in the press release. "This is important because previous research has determined that depression is a major determinant of overall quality of life."

Researchers explored NPS's patient database for records of more than 7,000 people with Parkinson's disease. They noted that among those with high levels of depressive symptoms, only one-third were prescribed antidepressants before the study began. Further, patients saw even fewer social workers or mental health professions for counseling. 

"The majority of these patients remained untreated," said Dr. Bega. "Still, the physician recognition of depression in this population was actually better than previous reports had suggested."

"Physicians must be more vigilant about screening patients for depression as part of a routine assessment of Parkinson's disease, and the effectiveness of different treatments for depression in this population need to be assessed."

The findings of the study were published in the Journal of Parkinson's Disease. 

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