The aim of this thesis was to investigate possible factors concerning weight loss in elderly patients with untreated, as well as treated Parkinson's disease (PD) and to compare PD patients with age and sex matched controls. Twenty-eight PD patients (15 newly diagnosed and 13 previously treated) and 28 sex and age matched controls were included in the study.
Data on body weight, body fat mass, lean body mass, PD symptoms, cognitive function, dysphasia, oral and dental state, resting energy expenditure, food habits, olfactory ability and physical activities were collected prospectively, and all variables were assessed repeatedly three times with one year between investigations: Baseline, year 1 and year 2. The previously treated PD patients and their controls were assessed twice, at year 1 and year 2. After one year, when the de novo PD patients had been optimally treated with L-dopa, the two groups of PD patients were combined into one group for the purpose of analysis.
Twenty-six of the PD patients were able to participate to the end of the study, and the results were compared with those of their 26 controls. The PD patients had lower housework activity, a longer period of daily rest, fewer could do their own food shopping and cooking and more patients had impaired olfaction and presence of dysphagia, both at year 1 and at year 2. At year two, the PD patients also had lower body weight, body fat mass, lean body mass, physical activity and mobility. The PD patients had a higher number of eating events, compared with the controls at year one, but at year two the patients consumed fewer high quality snacks than their controls. There were no significant differences between PD patients and their controls with regard to daily intakes of energy, protein, fat and carbohydrates.
Nineteen of the PD patients lost body weight between year one and year two. In the weight losing patients, the PD symptoms, L-dopa dosage, and energy intake (kcal/kg body weight) increased as did their daily recumbent rest, while their cognitive function decreased. Multiple regression analysis showed that women with low cognitive function were predisposed to weight loss. The consumption of solid food decreased.
Conclusion: Weight loss was common in PD patients, in spite of increased energy intake. Food habits changed toward a lower number of adequate foods and their intake of solid food decreased. It has to be discussed whether weight loss in PD patients is part of this neurodegenerative process and L-dopa treatment could contribute to the weight loss.
Linköping: Linköpings universitet , 2005. , 46 p.