Functional neuroimaging and clinical features of drug naive patients with de novo Parkinson's disease and probable RBD

Dario Arnaldi, Silvia Morbelli, Andrea Brugnolo, Nicola Girtler, Agnese Picco, Michela Ferrara, Jennifer Accardo, Ambra Buschiazzo, Fabrizio de Carli, Marco Pagani, Flavio Nobili

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Introduction The association between Parkinson Disease (PD) and REM sleep behavior disorder (RBD) has been related to a specific, malignant clinical phenotype. Definite RBD diagnosis requires video-polysomnography that is often unfeasible. A malignant clinical PD-RBD phenotype could be expected also in PD patients with probable RBD. Aim of this cross-sectional study was to evaluate whether a more severe neuropsychological and functional neuroimaging phenotype can be identified in PD patients with probable RBD. Methods Thirty-eight de novo, drug naïve PD patients underwent a first-line clinical assessment and a second-line multimodal assessment, including neuropsychological evaluation, 123I-FP-CIT-SPECT and 18F-FDG-PET, which were compared between PD patients with (PD + RBD+) and without (PD + RBD-) probable RBD. Results On first-line assessment, PD + RBD + patients had significantly more constipation (p = 0.02) and showed worse olfaction (p = 0.01) compared with PD + RBD-while the two groups were similar as for age, presence of orthostatic hypotension, UPDRS-III and MMSE scores. On second-line assessment, PD + RBD + patients showed a worse neuropsychological test profile, more severe nigro-striatal dopaminergic impairment, mainly at caudate level in the less affected hemisphere (p = 0.004) and impaired brain glucose metabolism, with relative hypometabolism in posterior cortical regions and relative hypermetabolism mainly in anterior regions of the more affected hemisphere (p = 0.015). Conclusions PD patients with probable RBD are likely to have a more severe neuropsychological and functional brain-imaging phenotype already at the time of diagnosis.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)47-53
Number of pages7
JournalParkinsonism and Related Disorders
Publication statusPublished - Aug 1 2016



  • Cognitive
  • PD
  • RBD

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neurology
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology
  • Clinical Neurology

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