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Depressive symptoms in Parkinson’s disease and in non-neurological medical illnesses

Authors Assogna F, Fagioli S, Cravello L, Meco G, Pierantozzi M, Stefani A, Imperiale F, Caltagirone C, Pontieri FE, Spalletta G

Received 7 November 2012

Accepted for publication 23 January 2013

Published 21 March 2013 Volume 2013:9 Pages 389—396


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewer comments 2

Francesca Assogna,1 Sabrina Fagioli,1 Luca Cravello,1 Giuseppe Meco,2 Mariangela Pierantozzi,3 Alessandro Stefani,3 Francesca Imperiale,2 Carlo Caltagirone,1,3 Francesco E Pontieri,4 Gianfranco Spalletta1

1I.R.C.C.S. Santa Lucia Foundation, Rome, Italy; 2Department of Neurology and Psychiatry (Parkinson’s Centre) and Research Centre of Social Diseases (CIMS), University “Sapienza”, Rome, Italy; 3Department of Neuroscience, University “Tor Vergata”, Rome, Italy; 4Department of Neuroscience, Mental Health and Sensory Systems, University “Sapienza”, Movement Disorder Unit, Sant’Andrea Hospital, Rome, Italy

Background: Patients with neurological and non-neurological medical illnesses very often complain of depressive symptoms that are associated with cognitive and functional impairments. We compared the profile of depressive symptoms in Parkinson’s disease (PD) patients with that of control subjects (CS) suffering from non-neurological medical illnesses.
Methods: One-hundred PD patients and 100 CS were submitted to a structured clinical interview for identification of major depressive disorder (MDD) and minor depressive disorder (MIND), according to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 4th edition, text revision (DSM-IV-TR), criteria. The Hamilton Depression Rating Scale (HDRS) and the Beck Depression Inventory (BDI) were also administered to measure depression severity.
Results: When considering the whole groups, there were no differences in depressive symptom frequency between PD and CS apart from worthlessness/guilt, and changes in appetite reduced rates in PD. Further, total scores and psychic and somatic subscores of HDRS and BDI did not differ between PD and CS. After we separated PD and CS in those with MDD, MIND, and no depression (NODEP), comparing total scores and psychic/somatic subscores of HDRS and BDI, we found increased total depression severity in NODEP PD and reduced severity of the psychic symptoms of depression in MDD PD, with no differences in MIND. However, the severity of individual symptom frequency of depression was not different between PD and CS in MDD, MIND, and NODEP groups.
Conclusion: Although MDD and MIND phenomenology in PD may be very similar to that of CS with non-neurological medical illnesses, neurological symptoms of PD may worsen (or confound) depression severity in patients with no formal/structured DSM-IV-TR, diagnosis of depressive mood disorders. Thus, a thorough assessment of depression in PD should take into consideration the different impacts of neurological manifestations on MDD, MIND, and NODEP.

Keywords: Parkinson’s disease, neuropsychiatry, depression, nonmotor symptoms

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