Gender-related differences in the burden of non-motor symptoms in Parkinson's disease

Pablo Martinez-Martin, Cristian Falup Pecurariu, Per Odin, Jacobus J. Van Hilten, Angelo Antonini, Jose M. Rojo-Abuin, Vanderci Borges, Claudia Trenkwalder, Dag Aarsland, David J. Brooks, Kallol Ray Chaudhuri

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Differences in the expression of non-motor symptoms (NMS) by Parkinson's disease (PD) patients may have important implications for their management and prognosis. Gender is a basic epidemiological variable that could influence such expression. The present study evaluated the prevalence and severity of NMS by gender in an international sample of 951 PD patients, 62.63% males, using the non-motor symptoms scale (NMSS). Assessments for motor impairment and complications, global severity, and health state were also applied. All disease stages were included. No significant gender differences were found for demographic and clinical characteristics. For the entire sample, the most prevalent symptoms were Nocturia (64.88%) and Fatigue (62.78%) and the most prevalent affected domains were Sleep/Fatigue (84.02%) and Miscellaneous (82.44%). Fatigue, feelings of nervousness, feelings of sadness, constipation, restless legs, and pain were more common and severe in women. On the contrary, daytime sleepiness, dribbling saliva, interest in sex, and problems having sex were more prevalent and severe in men. Regarding the NMSS domains, Mood/Apathy and Miscellaneous problems (pain, loss of taste or smell, weight change, and excessive sweating) were predominantly affected in women and Sexual dysfunction in men. No other significant differences by gender were observed. To conclude, in this study significant differences between men and women in prevalence and severity of fatigue, mood, sexual and digestive problems, pain, restless legs, and daytime sleepiness were found. Gender-related patterns of NMS involvement may be relevant for clinical trials in PD.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1639-1647
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Neurology
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2012


  • Burden
  • Gender
  • Non-motor symptoms
  • Parkinson's disease
  • Prevalence

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Neurology


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