Study correlates driving impairment with Parkinson's disease

December 09, 2002

ST. PAUL, MN - A recent study has confirmed what medical professionals and loved ones of people with Parkinson's disease have long feared to be true - the likelihood of a driving mishap increases in direct correlation with Parkinson's disease progression. The study, reported in the Dec. 10 issue of Neurology, the scientific journal of the American Academy of Neurology, was conducted by researchers at the University of South Florida, Tampa.

Thirty-nine Parkinson's patients and 25 control subjects (without neurological disease) completed testing in a driving simulator. "We were interested not only in the generalized likelihood of driving impairment in patients with Parkinson's," says study author Theresa Zesiewicz, MD. "We also hoped to determine which variables are significant predictors of driving risk."

Of the 39 Parkinson's patients, seven reported having stopped driving due largely to concentration difficulties, 10 reported a decrease in amount of driving, and 22 reported no change in driving habits, though most of these reported increased difficulty with driving since Parkinson's diagnosis. All participants completed a Mini-Mental State Exam (MMSE) and a self-report questionnaire regarding driving history and number of miles driven per month. Parkinson's patients were evaluated using Hoehn and Yahr (H &Y) staging (a Parkinson's disease progression rating scale) and the more complex Unified Parkinson's Disease Rating Scale.

Participants were each given 10 to 15 minutes to practice on the simulator prior to testing. All Parkinson's patients had more total collisions on the driving simulator than the control subjects, with collision rates corresponding directly to severity of disease progression (as determined by evaluation methods described above).

Among patients who were still driving, those who sustained collisions on the simulator were older and had worse MMSE scores, UPDRS and H & Y stage ratings. "We found it particularly interesting that there was no relationship between Parkinson's patients' self-reporting of moving violations and their total collisions on the driving simulator," notes Zesiewicz.

"Clearly, Parkinson's patients with advanced disease are at greater risk for motor vehicle collisions, due to both motor and cognitive dysfunction," according to Zesiewicz. "Still, in order to develop rigorous guidelines regarding driving safety for Parkinson's patients we would recommend larger, long-term prospective studies correlating simulator assessments with driving accidents."
-end-
The American Academy of Neurology, an association of more than 18,000 neurologists and neuroscience professionals, is dedicated to improving patient care through education and research.

For more information about the American Academy of Neurology, visit the online Press Room at http://www.aan.com/press/index.cfm

For more information contact: Kathy Stone, 651-695-2763, kstone@aan.com
For a copy of the study contact: Cheryl Alementi, 651-695-2737, calementi@aan.com

American Academy of Neurology

Related Neurology Articles from Brightsurf:

Lancet Neurology publishes results of AFFiRiS' Phase 1 trial with PD01A in Parkinson's
AFFiRiS AG, a clinical-stage biotechnology company developing novel disease-modifying specific active immunotherapies (SAITs), today announced that detailed results of the phase 1 clinical program with its lead candidate PD01 in early Parkinson's disease (PD) patients were published in the peer-reviewed journal The Lancet Neurology

Telemedicine effective for monitoring patients in large pediatric neurology network
As the COVID-19 pandemic sent entire communities into lockdown, doctors quickly adopted telehealth strategies without knowing whether they would be effective or feasible.

The Lancet Neurology: Discovery could speed diagnosis and treatment of children with life-threatening neurological diseases
A group of life-threatening neurological conditions affecting children have been linked to an antibody which points to potential treatment, according to an observational multicentre study involving 535 children with central nervous system (CNS) demyelinating disorders and encephalitis, published in The Lancet Neurology journal.

Meaningful change in culture urged to save neurology, reduce gender gap
UC Davis School of Medicine dean, NINDS deputy director lead national charge to improve conditions for women in neurology.

BrainStorm Cell Tx publishes NurOwn ALS Phase 2 randomized trial data in neurology
Results from Brainstorm Cell Therapeutic's NurOwn randomized Phase 2 clinical trial were published in Neurology.

The Lancet Neurology: Pioneering study suggests that an exoskeleton for tetraplegia could be feasible
A whole-body exoskeleton, operated by recording and decoding brain signals, has helped a tetraplegic patient to move all four of his paralysed limbs, according to results of a 2-year trial published in The Lancet Neurology journal.

The Lancet Neurology: Frailty could make people more susceptible to dementia
New research published in The Lancet Neurology journal suggests that frailty makes older adults more susceptible to Alzheimer's dementia, and moderates the effects of dementia-related brain changes on dementia symptoms.

The Lancet Neurology: Cannabis-based drug in combination with other anti-spasticity
Oral spray containing two compounds derived from the cannabis plant reduced spasticity compared with placebo in patients already taking anti-spasticity drugs.

New neurology studies a 'wakeup call' for global health
Neurology experts from around the world will convene Nov. 27 in New Zealand for a Global Brain Summit examining what one calls 'the greatest challenge of societies in the 21st century.' Among the neurological disorders to be discussed at the Summit are stroke, traumatic brain injury, Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease, multiple sclerosis, and migraine and other headaches.

The Lancet Neurology: Daily and weekly cycles of epileptic seizures more common than previously thought
Understanding the pattern of seizures, and how they are linked to circadian rhythms, could be important in improving management of epilepsy.

Read More: Neurology News and Neurology Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.