Falls, fractures and bone density in Parkinson's disease – a cross-sectional study

Cristina Tassorelli, Mariangela Berlangieri, Simona Buscone, Monica Bolla, Roberto De Icco, Alessio Baricich, Claudio Pacchetti, Carlo Cisari, Giorgio Sandrini

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Aim: Evidence suggests that falls and associated bone fractures are more frequent in patients suffering from Parkinson's disease (PD) than in the general population. In this cross-sectional study we evaluated the clinical and biochemical characteristics that are associated to falls, fractures and bone health in a population of PD subjects. Materials and methods: Forty-two consecutive subjects suffering from idiopathic PD (mild-to-moderate severity) with/without falls in the previous year were included. They were characterized as regards functional independence, balance, fear of falling, bone density (ultrasound densitometry) and plasma levels of vitamin D. Twenty-one age- and sex-matched healthy subjects were evaluated as controls. Results: We detected a greater degree of osteoporosis in PD subjects as compared to controls, more pronounced in males than in females (Z-score: M −3.8 ± 1.6, F −2.28 ± 0.92, p = 0.0006). A positive correlation was found between independence levels and bone density or vitamin D levels. Twenty seven patients (64%) reported falls in the previous year. These were associated to post-traumatic fractures in 16 subjects (59% of fallers). Women fell more than men (fallers: 20 F/7 M; non fallers: 4 F/11 M, χ² test p = 0.02), although the occurrence of post-traumatic fractures among fallers did not differ between sexes (F 11/9, M 5/2, χ² test p > 0.05). Fallers with post-traumatic fractures showed higher degrees of motor impairment. Conclusions: These findings confirm that falls and osteoporosis represent major health issues in PD, already in the middle stages of disease.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-6
Number of pages6
JournalInternational Journal of Neuroscience
Publication statusAccepted/In press - Jul 1 2016


  • balance
  • bone density
  • falls
  • functional independence
  • gender
  • traumatic fractures

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)


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