MDS: No Evidence Seen for 'Parkinsonian Personality'

Long-term study discounts novelty-seeking behavior as a risk factor for parkinsonism
By Rick Ansorge
HealthDay Reporter

TUESDAY, June 9 (HealthDay News) -- Several personality traits -- including novelty seeking -- are not associated with an increased risk of Parkinson's disease. However, Parkinson's patients treated with dopamine agonist therapy may experience enhanced creativity, according to two studies presented this week at the Movement Disorder Society's 13th International Congress of Parkinson's Disease and Movement Disorders, held from June 7 to 11 in Paris.

In one study, Gennarina Arabia, M.D., of the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., and colleagues conducted a 40-year follow-up of 6,822 subjects who completed the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory from 1962 to 1965, including 227 who developed parkinsonism. They found no evidence that novelty seeking -- or other personality traits such as hypomania, positive emotionalism, constraint, or introversion -- were associated with an increased risk of parkinsonism or Parkinson's disease.

In a second study, French researchers led by Alina Batir, M.D., of Joseph Fourier University in Grenoble, France, studied 11 "creative" patients (six of whom developed artistic talent after starting dopamine agonist therapy) and 22 control patients who were scheduled to undergo deep brain stimulation. After dopamine agonist dosages were reduced following surgery, they found that only one "creative" patient continued to be creative.

For almost 100 years, researchers have posited the existence of a distinctive "parkinsonian personality." "Our findings suggest that novelty-seeking personality traits cannot be considered as risk factors for the later development of parkinsonism or Parkinson's disease," Arabia and colleagues conclude.

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