High Burden and Depression Among Late-Stage Idiopathic Parkinson Disease and Progressive Supranuclear Palsy Caregivers

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Caregivers of patients with late-stage idiopathic Parkinson disease (IPD) and late-stage progressive supranuclear palsy (PSP) often suffer from severe psychological strain themselves. This study investigates the influence of the different kind of symptoms in IPD and PSP on the psychological burden of the caregivers.


Twenty patients with late-stage IPD and 20 patients with late-stage PSP and their caregivers were investigated. To measure the degree of motor, cognitive, and affective impairment of the patients, the instruments Subscale III of the Unified Rating Scale for Parkinsonism (UPDRS-III), a shortened 24-item version of the Mini-Mental State Examination, and the Geriatric Depression Scale (GDS-30) were used. Psychological burden of the caregivers was determined by using the Beck Depression Inventory (BDI-II) and the Zarit Caregiver Burden Inventory (ZBI).


Patients with IPD suffered from a higher level of depression (GDS-30: 15.9 vs 10.2, P = .020), whereas patients with PSP showed greater motor impairment (UPDRS-III: 38.3 vs 29.9, P = .002). Caregivers of both groups reported high psychological burden (ZBI: 36.5 in IPD vs 42.8 in PSP) and symptoms of a depression (BDI-II: 12.5 in IPD vs 15.1 in PSP). No significant influence of motor impairment, cognitive dysfunction, and depressive symptoms of the patient on the burden of the caregiver could be found.


Psychological strain and depression among caregivers seem to become even more relevant in the late stages of IPD and PSP. Further studies will be necessary to investigate the specific determining factors in late-stage parkinsonian syndromes.

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