Much of the current clinical research surrounds the frequency and impact of nonmotor symptoms in PD, which are common but often underrecognized and, in turn, undertreated. For example, depression is present in about 50% of patients, anxiety in 30%, impulse control disorders in 14%, and cognitive change occurs in up to 80%.16,,18 Since the development of the first set, there has been no change in the fact that nonmotor symptoms need to be recognized but compliance with these measures has been low.11 There continues to be a gap in care. There is increasing evidence that cognitive dysfunction, psychiatric disorders, and sleep and autonomic symptoms are a primary part of the disease process in PD and that many are treatable.

For people who develop Alzheimer’s disease (AD), depressive symptoms and other “noncognitive” changes may occur before any of the hallmark memory and thinking problems associated with the disease, according to a new study published in the journal Neurology.

Researchers analyzed the performance of approximately 2,400 Americans ages 50 and older on various assessments of psychological health, behavior, and the ability to perform daily activities.

Specifically, within the first four years of the study, 30 percent of the participants who would later go on to develop dementia already showed depressive symptoms, such as significantly decreased energy, apathy, and increased preference for staying home. By comparison, only about 15 percent of people who didn’t develop dementia showed depressive symptoms.