Parkinson’s disease (PD) is typically considered an age-related disease, but the age at disease onset can vary by decades between patients. Aging and aging-associated diseases can affect the movement system independently of PD, and advanced age has previously been proposed to be associated with a more severe PD phenotype with accelerated progression. In this work, we investigated how interactions between PD progression and aging affect a wide range of outcomes related to PD motor and nonmotor symptoms as well as Health Related Quality of Life (HRQoL) and treatment characteristics. This population-based cohort study is based on 1436 PD patients from southern Sweden followed longitudinally for up to approximately 7.5 years from enrollment (3470 visits covering 2285 patient years, average follow-up time 1.7 years). Higher age at onset was generally associated with faster progression of motor symptoms, with a notable exception of dyskinesia and other levodopa-associated motor fluctuations that had less severe trajectories for patients with higher age at onset. Mixed results were observed for emergence of non-motor symptoms, while higher age at onset was generally associated with worse HRQoL trajectories. Accounting for these identified age- associated differences in disease progression could positively impact patient management and drug development efforts.
Nature, Scientific Reports, 2022; 12(1): 526