Journal of Neurology

, Volume 264, Issue 12, pp 2401–2408 | Cite as

The natural history of depressive symptoms in patients with incident Parkinson’s disease: a prospective cohort study

  • Jan Petter Larsen
  • Ingvild DalenEmail author
  • Kenn Freddy Pedersen
  • Ole-Bjørn Tysnes
Original Communication


Depression is common in patients with Parkinson disease and causes suffering and increased caregiver burden. A better understanding of depressive symptoms in Parkinson disease, their progression, and risk factors may, therefore, benefit management of these patients. The present study included 187 drug-naïve patients with incident PD and 166 controls from the population-based Norwegian ParkWest project. Depressive symptoms were examined with the Montgomery and Aasberg Depression Rating Scale (MADRS) at time of diagnosis and inclusion in the study and after 1, 3, 5, and 7 years of follow-up. Associations between MADRS scores and risk factors were assessed using generalized estimating equations (GEE). The mean MADRS score from all 823 examinations during the study period was 4.2 in patients and 1.3 in 732 examinations among controls. Among controls, the occurrence of depressive symptoms was also lower and rather stable during follow-up, while in patients, we observed a decrease from time of diagnosis and until the 1-year visit, followed by a steady increase in these symptoms over time. Factors associated with higher MADRS score in the multivariable model were female sex, being dependent, higher pain score, higher Unified PD Rating Scale (UPDRS) motor score, and lower Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE) score. The results from this study underscore the importance and frequency of depressive symptoms in patients with early PD. Furthermore, risk factors that may be considered PD-nonspecific are associated with depressive symptoms as are factors that reflect the progression of PD.


Parkinson’s disease Depression Non-motor symptoms Epidemiology Natural history Cohort study 



The authors are grateful to all participants and the personnel involved in planning and conducting the Norwegian ParkWest study.

Compliance with ethical standards

Ethical standards

The study was approved by the Regional Committee for Medical and Health Research Ethics, Western Norway. Signed written consent was obtained from all participants.

Conflicts of interest

OBT has been invited speaker for GSK, Orion Pharma, Pfizer, UCB, Novartis and Lundbeck and has participated in an advisory board for Lundbeck. JPL, ID, and KFP declare that they have no conflict of interest.


The Norwegian ParkWest study was supported by Grant #9111218 from the Western Norway Regional Health Authority, Grant #177966 from the Research Council of Norway, and the Norwegian Parkinson’s Disease Association.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Network for Medical Sciences, University of StavangerStavangerNorway
  2. 2.Department of Research, Section of BiostatisticsStavanger University HospitalStavangerNorway
  3. 3.Department of NeurologyStavanger University HospitalStavangerNorway
  4. 4.The Norwegian Centre for Movement DisordersStavanger University HospitalStavangerNorway
  5. 5.Department of Clinical MedicineUniversity of BergenBergenNorway
  6. 6.Department of NeurologyHaukeland University HospitalBergenNorway

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