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Cognition partially mediated the association between race/ethnicity and 39-item Parkinson disease questionnaire scores.


For patients with Parkinson disease (PD), racial and ethnic minorities have worse health-related quality of life (HRQoL) than White patients, according to a study published online April 5 in Neurology.

Daniel Garbin Di Luca, M.D., from the Krembil Brain Institute at Toronto Western Hospital, and colleagues conducted a retrospective cross-sectional and longitudinal cohort study of individuals to examine variability in HRQoL and other outcomes in patients with PD. Data were included for 8,514 participants with at least one recorded visit (90.2 percent self-identified as White, 5.81 percent as Hispanic, 2 percent as Asian, and 1.9 percent as African American).

The researchers found that the total 39-item PD questionnaire (PDQ-39) scores were significantly higher in African Americans, Hispanics, and Asians than in Whites (28.56, 26.62, and 25.43 versus 22.73) after adjustment. In most PDQ-39 subscales, this difference was also significant. The inclusion of cognitive scores in the longitudinal analysis significantly decreased the strength of the association of PDQ-39 with race/ethnicity for minority groups. Cognition partially mediated the association between race/ethnicity and PDQ-39 scores in a mediation analysis (proportion mediated, 0.251).

“Evaluating the underlying reasons behind differences in quality of life between racial and ethnic groups is crucial to improve care,” Di Luca said in a statement. “Future studies are needed to gain a better understanding of the reasons for treatment and outcome differences in underrepresented populations, including differences in thinking and memory, clinical care, and quality of life.”

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