Daniel Weintraub, MD, of the University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine in Philadelphia reported the first study of risk compulsive behavior and Parkinson's disease in the Jan. 8, 2013, print issue of Neurology®, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology.
Parkinson's disease itself does not increase the risk of impulse control problems such as compulsive gambling and shopping according to the study that involved 168 people who had recently been diagnosed with Parkinson's disease and had not yet taken any medications for the disease.
The participants were given a questionnaire asking how often they had impulse control symptoms such as compulsive gambling, shopping, sexual behavior or eating. Participants were also asked about aimless wandering, punding (which is excessive repetition of non-goal directed activity, such as continual handling and sorting of common objects) and hobbyism (the compulsive pursuit of a hobby such as collecting, cleaning or excessive Internet use).
Twenty percent of each group reported impulse control disorder behavior.
"These results provide further evidence that impulse control disorders that occur in people with Parkinson's disease are related to the exposure to the dopamine-related drugs, not just the disease itself," Weintraub said.
Parkinson’s disease was the cause of 348 deaths in Alabama in 2011 according to the Alabama Department of Public Health. None of these deaths were compulsive behavior related.
The research was reviewed at the Eureka Alert website the date of publication.