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Dr. Okun

New Study: Suicidal Ideation and PD

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Dear forum members,


Here us a recent article on suicidal ideation and attempts in PD. They seem to be related to younger age and major depression. I would like to remind everyone that depression is treatable and that we should all be on the lookout. Interestingly, suicide rates in PD have always been suspected to be lower than the general population.


CNS Spectr. 2009 Aug;14(8):431-6.

Suicidal ideation in Parkinson's disease.

Kummer A, Cardoso F, Teixeira AL.


Neuropsychiatric Branch of the Neurology Division, University Hospital, Federal University of Minas Gerais, Belo Horizonte, Brazil.

Objective: To assess the frequency of suicidal ideation and suicide attempts in patients with Parkinson's disease. Methods: The Mini International Neuropsychiatric Interview (MINI), Beck Depression Inventory (BDI), and Hamilton Rating Scale for Depression (HAM-D) were administered to 90 consecutive, non-demented Parkinson's disease patients. They were also submitted to a complete neurologic examination which included brief cognitive batteries, the Mini Mental Status Exam, and Frontal Assessment Battery. We analyzed the scores of the section of the MINI related to the risk of suicide as well as the specific questions of BDI and HAM-D concerning suicidal ideation. Results: No patient had ever attempted suicide. According to MINI, suicidal ideation was present in 13 patients (14.4%) with Parkinson's disease. All instruments assessed the risk of suicide in a similar way. Suicidal ideation was associated only with lower age (P=.022), lower age of Parkinson's disease onset (P=.021), panic disorder (P=.004), social anxiety disorder (P=.007), and major depression (P<.001). Logistic regression analysis indicated that major depression was the main predictor of suicidal ideation. Conclusion: Suicide attempts seem to be uncommon in Parkinson's disease, despite the fact that the rates of suicidal ideation are possibly elevated. Depression seems to be the most important predictor of suicidal ideation in Parkinson's disease.

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