Stress Linked to Harsher Parkinson’s Symptoms, but Mindfulness May Help


People with Parkinson’s disease experience more stress than those without this disease, and high stress levels associate with a worsening of symptoms, research based on a patient survey reported.

Mindfulness, a practice of maintaining a heightened state of awareness of thoughts and feelings, may help to lower stress in people with Parkinson’s, especially anxiety and depressive feelings, it also reported.

These findings were in the study “Stress and mindfulness in Parkinson’s disease – a survey in 5000 patients,” published in npj Parkinson’s Disease.

A team led by researchers in the Netherlands sent out a survey through The Michael J. Fox Foundation’s Fox Insight program. The survey asked a variety of questions about stress, Parkinson’s, and related factors.

Survey answers were returned by 5,000 patients and by 1,292 controls, mostly relatives, spouses, or friends of patients who did not have Parkinson’s. Patients’ mean age was 67.3, their average disease duration was 5.9 years, and 48.6% were women. Among controls, the mean age was 60.8 years, and 78.0% were women.

Most survey respondents (93%) were white, and most (82.6%) lived in the U.S. Of note, not all survey respondents answered every question; the researchers analyzed data that were available.

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