Dropped head syndrome in Parkinson's disease

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We determined the frequency of dropped head syndrome in Parkinson's disease (PD) in Japan and evaluated its clinical correlates. A total of 252 consecutive patients with PD who visited our hospital were studied. Dropped head syndrome was found in 15 patients (6.0%) (3 men, 12 women; mean age at onset of PD, 62.8 ± 11.5 years). The interval before emergence of dropped head after disease onset was 5.4 ± 4.3 years (−0.5 to 15 years). The Hoehn-Yahr score at the on stage was 3.2 ± 0.7; at the off stage 3.5 ± 0.8. Of those 15 patients, 8 had major symptoms of rigidity and akinesia. In 2 patients, administration of a dopamine agonist appeared to evoke dropped head syndrome. An increase in and/or the addition of antiparkinsonian drugs alleviated head drop in 4 patients and reduced head drop in 7 patients. Any medication was not effective for 4 patients. Dropped head syndrome in PD is not rare in Japan. It is more often observed in women and is associated with patients who primarily suffer rigidity and akinesia. Dropped head syndrome in these patients appears to be produced by disproportionate tonus of the neck muscles. It is modulated by antiparkinsonian drugs and is considered to be a type of dystonia. © 2006 Movement Disorder Society

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