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)299-304
Number of pages6
JournalInternational Journal of Neuroscience
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2017


  • Accidental Falls
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Bone Density
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Densitometry
  • Fear
  • Female
  • Fractures, Bone
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Parkinson Disease
  • Postural Balance
  • Sensation Disorders
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Sex Factors
  • Ultrasonography
  • Vitamin D
  • Journal Article


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