(PatriotWise.com) — Those with Parkinson’s disease who experience early minor hallucinations are at a greater risk of suffering a faster rate of cognitive decline, Newsweek reported.
In a study published in Nature last week, researchers found that a condition known as “presence hallucinations” often appears as one of the earliest symptoms of Parkison’s, and those recently diagnosed with Parkinson’s who experience “presence hallucinations” are at a higher risk of cognitive decline.
While “presence hallucinations” often goes unreported in Parkinson’s patients, the researchers suggest that the condition should be taken more seriously.
Scientists from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne and Sant Pau Hospital in Barcelona interviewed 75 Parkinson’s sufferers between 60 and 70 years old to assess their cognitive function.
In patients who experienced presence hallucinations, Parkinson’s disease progressed more rapidly in the next five years.
The lead authors of the study, Olaf Blanke and Fosco Bernasconi of the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, told Newsweek in a joint statement there has been previous evidence indicating that “complex visual hallucinations” among Parkinson’s sufferers “are associated with cognitive decline and dementia.” However, since these hallucinations generally occur during the middle and advanced stages of the disease, they are unsuitable as a predictor of later dementia, which typically occurs after five years.
At the same time, evidence suggests that these “complex visual hallucinations” are often preceded by “minor” hallucinations. And it is the minor hallucinations that could help in the early diagnosis of Parkison’s and could “play a role in identifying cognitive decline,” the statement said.
Presence hallucinations are not unique to Parkinson’s disease. They can also occur in those suffering from other neurological and psychiatric conditions. They are also possible in healthy people who are facing bereavement or other extreme situations, the authors said.
But presence hallucinations are most frequent among those suffering from Parkinson’s and dementia, the authors added.
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