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Parkinson's disease is not associated with gambling, shopping problems

(January 8, 2013 - Insidermedicine)

From Philadelphia – A new report published in Neurology finds that Parkinson’s disease is not associated with gambling or shopping addictions. Researchers compared nearly 170 Parkinson’s patients to nearly 150 healthy controls. The Parkinson’s patients were all recently diagnosed and had not yet taken medication for the disease. Participants were surveyed regarding their impulse control and compulsive behaviours such as gambling, shopping, eating and sexual behaviours.   Results showed that patients with Parkinson’s were no more or less likely to demonstrate impulsive or compulsive control problems, with a similar amount of individuals in both groups having symptoms.

We spoke with Dr. Daniel Weintraub, MD, principal investigator of the study, who had this to say:

"Impulse control disorder symptoms as reported by patients are not more common in untreated Parksinson's disease patients compared with healthy people from the general population. This is additional evidence further supporting that the increased frequency of impulse control disorders that are reported in Parkinson's disease patients are associated with the medications that are used to treat the disease, particularly, the class of medications called dopamine agonists."