While Parkinsons disease typically brings to mind symptoms such as tremors and slow movement, researchers have found that nearly half of all Parkinsons patients also suffer from depression. While it might seem natural that someone who has a disease such as Parkinsons might become depressed, its not so simple, says neurologist Irene Richard, M.D., of the University of Rochester Medical Center.
"Many patients assume thats its normal to feel this way. They might say, If you had Parkinsons disease, youd feel this way too. Thats not true. If you treat the depression, theyll still have the other symptoms of the disease, but they feel better. Its one aspect of the disease that may be very treatable," says Richard. "People diagnosed with other serious diseases that may also be disabling, such as rheumatoid arthritis, arent nearly as likely to become depressed."
Richard and co-author William McDonald, M.D., a psychiatrist at Emory University, discussed the links between depression and movement disorders like Parkinsons disease in a review article in the August 24 issue of the journal Neurology. In an article titled, "Can blue genes affect mood and movement?" the two noted that a team from Columbia University has linked a gene known to cause a movement disorder known as dystonia with a type of early-onset depression. Now they and other physicians around the country are exploring possible links between mood and movement in other disorders such as Parkinsons disease.
Tom Rickey | EurekAlert!
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