Healthy Living

The Very Real and Deep Depression of Parkinson's Disease

The results are in. Depression and anxiety are all too common for patients

When all is said and done scientifically, the results determined that anxiety and depression in Parkinson’s patients are associated with the loss of dopamine and noradrenaline innervation in the limbic system, or one of the three units of the brain that regulates emotions, memory, and personal identity.

The study took place while the depressed patients were antidepressant free for at least 90 days. The day of the PET study, researchers performed neuropsychiatric evaluations on all the patients. Anxiety and apathy were measured using the Apathy Evaluation Scale and the State-Trait Anxiety Inventory. Those with depression and those who were not depressed but had Parkinson’s disease were matched age for age and disease severity. Seven healthy subjects, age-matched to the patients were also used. None of the control patients had signs or histories of neurological disorders or depression.

Patients had no dopaminergic medication the day before the PET study. No medication was to limit interactions between the dopaminergic drugs and the tracers used in the scan. Each subject had an MRI using a Picker 1 Tsystem that included a T1-weighted 3D volumetric acquisition to allow co-registration. Basically, they were all given the same type of brain scan using the same tracers.