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Religiosity in patients with Parkinson's disease

Authors Patrick McNamara, Raymon Durso, Ariel Brown

Published 15 September 2006 Volume 2006:2(3) Pages 341—348

Patrick McNamara, Raymon Durso, Ariel Brown

Department of Neurology, Boston University School of Medicine, Boston, MA, and VA Boston Healthcare System, Boston, MA, USA

Objective: To study clinical correlates of religiosity in Parkinson’s disease (PD).

Methods: Measures of life goals, religiosity, mood, and neuropsychologic function were assessed in 22 persons with mid-stage PD and 20 age-matched healthy controls. Levodopa dose equivalents (LDE) were also computed for the patients.

Results: Relative to other major life goals parkinsonian patients were significantly more likely to report that “my religion or life philosophy” was less important than were age-matched controls. Scores on a battery of religiosity scales were consistently lower for Parkinson’s patients than those of age-matched controls. While Mini Mental State Exam, logical memory recall, Stroop, and selected (depression and anxiety) mood scales reliably distinguished patients from controls, only measures of prefrontal function correlated with religiosity scores.

Conclusions: Patients with PD express less interest in religion and report consistently lower scores on measures of religiosity than age-matched controls. Prefrontal dopaminergic networks may support motivational aspects of religiosity.

Keywords: religiosity, Parkinson’s disease, neuropsychology, mood, executive functions, dopamine agonists

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