Background and Objective
To examine whether early weight change is associated with subsequent deterioration in cognitive function, including overall performance and specific domains, in Parkinson disease (PD).
This observational study used data from the Parkinson Progression Markers Initiative cohort. The patients underwent annual nonmotor assessments covering neuropsychiatric, sleep-related, and autonomic symptoms for up to 8 years of follow-up. Cognitive function was measured using the Montreal Cognitive Assessment (MoCA) and detailed neuropsychological testing. Linear mixed-effects models were applied to investigate the association of early weight change with longitudinal evolution of cognitive and other nonmotor symptoms.
A total of 358 patients with early PD were classified into weight loss (decrease of >3% body weight during the first year; n = 98), weight maintenance (within ±3%; n = 201), and weight gain (increase of >3%; n = 59) groups. The weight loss group showed a significantly faster decline in MoCA scores than the weight maintenance group (β = –0.19, 95% CI –0.28 to –0.10). With respect to specific cognitive domains, the weight loss group showed a steeper decline in sematic fluency test scores (β = –0.37, 95% CI –0.66 to –0.08) and MoCA phonemic fluency scores (β = –0.18, 95% CI –0.31 to –0.05) and, to a lesser extent, Letter-Number Sequencing scores (β = –0.07, 95% CI –0.14 to 0.01) compared with the weight maintenance group. Conversely, the weight gain group showed a slower decline in the Symbol Digit Modalities Test scores (β = 0.34, 95% CI 0.05 to 0.63), although no association was found with longitudinal changes in MoCA scores. We did not find any significant effects of weight change on the progression of other nonmotor symptoms.
Early weight loss was associated with a faster progression of decline in global cognitive function and executive function in patients with PD, whereas early weight gain was associated with a slower progression of decline in processing speed and attention. The impact of early weight change on nonmotor symptoms seemed to be specific to cognition.