Loss of olfaction in de novo and treated Parkinson's disease: possible implications for early diagnosis

G Tissingh, H W Berendse, P Bergmans, R DeWaard, B Drukarch, J C Stoof, E C Wolters

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Olfactory dysfunction is a common finding in patients with Parkinson's disease (PD). As most studies reported on odor identification in more advanced and treated PD, we administered an odor detection, discrimination, and identification test to a heterogeneous, partly de novo, group of patients. Forty-one non-demented PD patients, 24 of whom had untreated early PD, and 18 healthy controls, were examined. Odor identification and discrimination data were corrected for odor detection scores. PD patients scored significantly lower on all olfactory tests. Interestingly, the subgroup of de novo patients with early PD also showed significant olfactory disturbances compared with healthy subjects. Within the PD group, using multiple regression analysis, we found a significant, negative correlation between odor discrimination measures and disease The present study is the first to describe decreased performance of PD patients on odor discrimination, in addition to the already well-established deficits in odor detection and identification. Furthermore, odor discrimination measures were related to disease severity, possibly indicating that at least some aspects of olfactory dysfunction in PD may be secondary to ongoing degenerative processes in PD. As significant olfactory impairments were found in early, de novo PD, olfactory tests may be useful in the early diagnosis of PD.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)41-6
Number of pages6
JournalMovement disorders
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2001


  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Comparative Study
  • Dopamine Agonists
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Journal Article
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Olfaction Disorders
  • Parkinson Disease
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Time Factors

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