Dementia is the leading cause of disability worldwide among chronic diseases in the elderly and is a major
contributor to mortality. Importantly, dementia that develops as a comorbid condition significantly compounds the burden
of disease on the person, their caregivers and the health care system. Dementia is a frequent comorbidity of Parkinson’s
disease (PD) and about 80% of people with PD will develop dementia during the course of the disease. Incidence of
dementia in PD ranges from 54.7 to 107.14 per 1000 person-years while point prevalence estimates range from 19.7 to
35.3%. The range in incidence and point prevalence can be attributed to varying diagnostic criteria, sample biases, and
sample size. Nosologically, there is still disagreement on the origins of dementia in PD. Dementia development may be
most often caused by the progression of PD-type pathology; however, the occurrence of Alzheimer’s disease (AD)-type
pathology suggests that an interplay exists between the genes and proteins associated with PD and AD. Furthermore, these
genes and proteins may increase the risk and severity of dementia development in people with PD. Understanding the
mechanisms of neurodegeneration in PD and AD may, therefore, improve efforts to manage and treat PD dementia. Given
this, it is important to adequately define the frequency of PD dementia for informed decision making, particularly in the
areas of aged-care and government health policy.
Keywords: Burden, comorbidity, dementia, epidemiology, impact, Parkinson’s, progression.
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