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Risk factors for non-motor symptoms in Parkinson’s disease

Non-dopaminergic symptoms include dementia, hallucinations and apathy

Non-dopaminergic symptoms include dementia, hallucinations and apathy

The classic view of Parkinson’s disease is that its main effect is damage to the dopamine-producing neurones of the substantia nigra causing movement disorder.

Nowadays, the main feature is the widespread and progressive aggregation of the protein α-synuclein.

It is this clumping of cells that underlies the non-motor symptoms of the disease including dementia, hallucinations, depression, apathy, excessive daytime sleepiness and autonomic dysfunction that results in constipation and swallowing difficulties among other problems. These symptoms are designated as predominantly non-dopaminergic because they do not improve when patients are given medication to increase levels of dopamine.

Patients newly diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease may already have mild cognitive defects and almost 50% will have dementia within ten years of diagnosis. Hallucinations are common in patients


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