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Relatives of Parkinson's Patients Prone to Depression

Family susceptibility may play a role in depressive and anxiety disorders

THURSDAY, Dec. 6 (HealthDay News) -- Relatives of patients with Parkinson's disease are more prone to depression and anxiety than those with no family members affected by the disease, according to a study published in the December issue of the Archives of General Psychiatry.

Gennarina Arabia, M.D., of the Mayo Clinic College of Medicine in Rochester, Minn., and colleagues conducted a study of 1,000 first-degree relatives of 162 Parkinson's disease patients and compared their susceptibility to depression and anxiety with that of 850 first-degree relatives of 147 controls.

First-degree relatives of Parkinson's disease patients were 1.54 times more likely to develop psychiatric disorders than the first-degree relatives of controls, with depression and anxiety the predominant disorders. Relatives of patients with younger onset of Parkinson's disease were the most prone to depression and anxiety.

"Our findings suggest that depressive disorders and anxiety disorders may share familial susceptibility factors (genetic or non-genetic) and common pathogenic mechanisms with Parkinson's disease. If confirmed, these findings may have both clinical and research implications," the authors conclude.

One of the study authors reports an association with Alnylam Pharmaceuticals, Merck and Pfizer.

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