Nov. 28, 2012 -- For many people with Parkinson's disease, depression affects quality of life more than the symptoms such as shaking, according to new research.
"At least 50% of people with Parkinson's have depression," says Michael S. Okun, MD, national medical director of the National Parkinson Foundation and professor of neurology at the Center for Movement Disorders at the University of Florida, Gainesville.
That was a main finding of the Parkinson's Outcomes Project, a report released today by the National Parkinson Foundation.
"The big news is how large of a role depression plays in Parkinson's disease, how under-diagnosed and under-treated it is," says Joyce Oberdorf, CEO and president of the foundation.
The impact of depression on the health of people with Parkinson's is nearly twice that of movement problems, the researchers found.
About 1 million people in the U.S. and more than 4 million worldwide have the disease. It is marked by tremors and difficulty with walking, movement, and coordination.