Cognitive dysfunction in de novo Parkinson disease: Remitting vs. progressive cognitive impairment

Kazuya Kawabata, Atbin Djamshidian, Epifanio Bagarinao, Daniel Weintraub, Klaus Seppi, Werner Poewe



Parkinson’s disease (PD) exhibits divergent cognitive trajectories; however, the factors contributing to these variations remain elusive. This study aimed to examine the clinical features of patients with different long-term cognitive trajectories in de novo PD over a five-year follow-up.


We analyzed 258 patients who completed every annual evaluation for five years. According to the Montreal Cognitive Assessment (MoCA) scores, we classified patients into three groups: cognitively normal (n = 118, CN), remitting MoCA decline (n = 74, RMD), and progressive MoCA decline (n = 66, PMD).


The RMD group was associated with lower olfactory scores (Odds Ratio (OR) = 0.958, p = 0.040), whereas PMD was associated with higher depression scores (OR = 1.158, p = 0.045), probable RBD (OR = 3.169, p = 0.002), older age (OR = 1.132, p < 0.001) and lower educational attainment (OR = 0.828, p = 0.004). PMD had higher neurofilament light chain protein values than CN and RMD (p = 0.006, 0.015, respectively). Longitudinally, PMD showed a greater decline in all cognitive scores and hippocampus volumes (p = 0.004). Meanwhile, RMD exhibited intermediate cognitive and volumetric trajectories between CN and PMD and displayed worse score changes in memory tasks than CN.


While PMD exhibited known risk factors for cognitive impairment, along with worse cognitive performance and hippocampal volume decline, RMD displayed baseline lower olfactory scores and intermediate cognitive and hippocampal volume decline between the two groups. These findings suggest individuals in RMD may still be at risk for cognitive deficits. However, further long-term follow-up data are needed to unravel the determinants and dynamics of cognitive functions.

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