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New Parkinson's Disease Patients Report More Pain

Case-control study suggests that clinicians should consider pain an important non-motor factor

TUESDAY, Sept. 9 (HealthDay News) -- During or after the clinical onset of Parkinson's disease, pain should be considered a non-motor feature of the disease, researchers report in the September issue of the Archives of Neurology.

Giovanni Defazio, M.D., of the University of Bari in Bari, Italy, and colleagues studied 402 patients and 317 age-matched healthy controls to determine whether Parkinson's disease patients had more frequent pain.

Overall, the researchers found that frequency of pain was significantly higher in patients than controls (69.9 percent versus 62.8 percent), especially in the shoulder, back and leg. Although the frequency of non-dystonic pain was similar in patients and controls, they observed a significant association between Parkinson's disease and non-dystonic pain after symptom onset (odds ratio 2.1). The investigators also found that about 25 percent of patients reported pain onset before initiating anti-parkinsonian therapy.

"The findings of this study may have implications for designing studies aimed at understanding pain mechanisms in Parkinson's disease and identifying specific treatment strategies," the authors conclude.

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