Parkinson disease clinical subtypes: key features & clinical milestones

Meghan C. Campbell, Peter S. Myers, Alexandra J. Weigand, Erin R. Foster, Nigel J. Cairns, Joshua J. Jackson, Christina N. Lessov-Schlaggar, Joel S. Perlmutter

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Scopus citations


Objectives: Based on multi-domain classification of Parkinson disease (PD) subtypes, we sought to determine the key features that best differentiate subtypes and the utility of PD subtypes to predict clinical milestones. Methods: Prospective cohort of 162 PD participants with ongoing, longitudinal follow-up. Latent class analysis (LCA) delineated subtypes based on score patterns across baseline motor, cognitive, and psychiatric measures. Discriminant analyses identified key features that distinguish subtypes at baseline. Cox regression models tested PD subtype differences in longitudinal conversion to clinical milestones, including deep brain stimulation (DBS), dementia, and mortality. Results: LCA identified distinct subtypes: “motor only” (N = 63) characterized by primary motor deficits; “psychiatric & motor” (N = 17) characterized by prominent psychiatric symptoms and moderate motor deficits; “cognitive & motor” (N = 82) characterized by impaired cognition and moderate motor deficits. Depression, executive function, and apathy best discriminated subtypes. Since enrollment, 22 had DBS, 48 developed dementia, and 46 have died. Although there were no subtype differences in rate of DBS, dementia occurred at a higher rate in the “cognitive & motor” subtype. Surprisingly, mortality risk was similarly elevated for both “cognitive & motor” and “psychiatric & motor” subtypes compared to the “motor only” subtype (relative risk = 3.15, 2.60). Interpretation: Psychiatric and cognitive features, rather than motor deficits, distinguish clinical PD subtypes and predict greater risk of subsequent dementia and mortality. These results emphasize the value of multi-domain assessments to better characterize clinical variability in PD. Further, differences in dementia and mortality rates demonstrate the prognostic utility of PD subtypes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1272-1283
Number of pages12
JournalAnnals of Clinical and Translational Neurology
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 1 2020


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