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Hyperhomocysteinemia in L-Dopa Treated Patients with Parkinson's Disease: Potential Implications in Cognitive Dysfunction and Dementia?

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Background: Hyperhomocysteinemia has been associated with cognitive dysfunction and dementia. The incidence of dementia in Parkinson's Disease (PD) patients is higher than in the general population and plasma Homocysteine concentrations are increased in L-dopa treated PD patients.

Objective: We evaluated the possible correlations between L-Dopa related hyperhomocysteinemia and cognitive dysfunction in PD.

Methods: A Medline literature search was performed to identify all published studies on Homocysteine and cognitive dysfunction and dementia during the course of PD from 1966 to 31/03/2010.

Results: Sixteen studies were found for review; ten studies focused on homocysteine and cognitive dysfunction in PD patients, five on homocysteine and PD dementia and two on homocysteine and markers of neurodegeneration in PD. The design of the study was retrospective in 14 studies, while 2 had a prospective design, with a variable follow-up period (from 24-weeks to 2 years). In most of the studies plasma homocysteine levels significantly correlated with cognitive functions, dementia and markers of neurodegeneration in PD patients. However, some studies did not confirm these findings. Several factors may concur to explain these partially conflicting results, including the retrospective design of the studies, their small sample size, their high percentage of excluded patients, and the use of a wide range of neuropsychological tasks in assessment of cognitive dysfunctions across the available studies.

Conclusions: Available data seem to indicate a potential role of L-dopa related hyperhomocysteinemia on cognitive impairment and dementia during the course of PD.
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Keywords: Dementia; L-dopa; Parkinson's disease; cognitive dysfunctions; homocysteine

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Clinic of Nervous System Diseases, Azienda Ospedaliero-Universitaria Ospedali Riuniti, University of Foggia, Viale Pinto 1, 71100 Foggia, Italy.

Publication date: 01 September 2010

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