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Sexual Activity May Cut Disability in Men With Early Parkinson Disease

Active sex life linked to reduced motor, nonmotor burden and higher reported quality of life

doctor and patient

MONDAY, July 8, 2019 (HealthDay News) -- For male patients with Parkinson disease, sexual activity is associated with lower motor and nonmotor disability, according to a study published online July 3 in the European Journal of Neurology.

Marina Picillo, M.D., from the University of Salerno in Italy, and colleagues assessed sexual activity among 355 patients participating in the 24-month prospective Parkinson Disease Non Motor Symptoms study.

The researchers found that among male patients with Parkinson disease, those who were sexually active were less likely to report gastrointestinal symptoms (odds ratio, 0.56) and apathy (odds ratio, 0.42). Sexual activity in men was also associated with lower motor disability, better quality of life, and lower depression scores. The investigators found no similar associations in women.

"From the clinician's perspective, examination of a patient's sexual life is often neglected during the clinical interview. Likewise, the most commonly used tools to evaluate nonmotor symptoms as well as health-related quality of life in Parkinson disease contain either a few or no items related to sexual function," the authors write. "Yet, as effective pharmacological and behavioral therapies for sexual problems are available, sex life should be proactively investigated."

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