Neurodegenerative diseases are going to increase as the life expectancy is getting longer. The management of neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer's disease (AD) and other dementias, Parkinson's disease (PD) and PD related disorders, motor neuron diseases (MND), Huntington's disease (HD), spinocerebellar ataxia (SCA), and spinal muscular atrophy (SMA), is mainly addressed to motor and cognitive impairment, with special care to vital functions as breathing and feeding. Many of these patients complain of painful symptoms though their origin is variable, and their presence is frequently not considered in the treatment guidelines, leaving their management to the decision of the clinicians alone. However, studies focusing on pain frequency in such disorders suggest a high prevalence of pain in selected populations from 38 to 75% in AD, 40% to 86% in PD, and 19 to 85% in MND. The methods of pain assessment vary between studies so the type of pain has been rarely reported. However, a prevalent nonneuropathic origin of pain emerged for MND and PD. In AD, no data on pain features are available. No controlled therapeutic trials and guidelines are currently available. Given the relevance of pain in neurodegenerative disorders, the comprehensive understanding of mechanisms and predisposing factors, the application and validation of specific scales, and new specific therapeutic trials are needed.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology
- Clinical Neurology