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Dopamine transporter imaging is associated with long-term outcomes in Parkinson's disease

Dopamine transporter imaging is associated with long-term outcomes in Parkinson's disease
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Movement Disorders Volume 27 Issue 11

15 September 2012
Ravina B, Marek K, Eberly S, Oakes D, Kurlan R, Ascherio A, Beal F, Beck J, Flagg E, Galpern WR, Harman J, Lang AE, Schwarzschild M, Tanner C, Shoulson I


Dopamine (DA) transporter (DAT) imaging has been studied as a diagnostic tool for degenerative parkinsonism. Our aim was to measure the prognostic value of imaging for motor and nonmotor outcomes in Parkinson's disease (PD).

We prospectively evaluated a Parkinson's cohort after enrollment in a de novo clinical trial with a battery of motor (UPDRS), cognitive (Montreal Cognitive Assessment), and behavioral measures. DAT imaging with [123I][β]-CIT and single-photon emission computerized tomography (SPECT) was performed at baseline and after 22 months.

In total, 491 (91%) of the 537 subjects had evidence of DA deficiency on their baseline scan, consistent with PD, and were included in the analyses. The cohort was followed for 5.5 (0.8) years, with a mean duration of diagnosis of 6.3 (1.2). Lower striatal binding at baseline was independently associated with higher risk for clinical milestones and measures of disease severity, including motor-related disability, falling and postural instability, cognitive impairment, psychosis, and clinically important depressive symptoms. Subjects in the bottom quartile for striatal binding, compared to the top quartile, had an odds ratio (95% confidence interval) of 3.3 (1.7, 6.7) for cognitive impairment and 12.9 (2.6, 62.4) for psychosis.

Change from baseline in imaging after 22 months was also independently associated with motor, cognitive, and behavioral outcomes. DAT imaging with [123I][β]-CIT and SPECT, shortly after the diagnosis of PD, was independently associated with clinically important long-term motor and nonmotor outcomes.

These results should be treated as hypothesis generating and require confirmation.