Date on Master's Thesis/Doctoral Dissertation


Document Type

Master's Thesis

Degree Name



Anatomical Sciences and Neurobiology

Committee Chair

Litvan, Irene


Parkinson's disease--Patients; Neurobehavioral disorders; Caregivers


The goal of this thesis is to determine if neuropsychiatric features can differentiate parkinsonian patients with: tauopathies from those with alpha-synucleinopathies and explore caregiver distress. Three hundred and four patients (62 with tauopathies and 242 with alpha-synucleinopathies) diagnosed according to published diagnostic criteria were evaluated using the Neuropsychiatric Inventory (NPI), Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE), and Unified Parkinson's Disease Rating Scale (UPDRS). To control for between-group differences a subsample of 235 patients were analyzed. Patients with tauopathies had significantly higher NPI total scores, more apathy, less hallucinations, lower MMSE scores and higher UPDRS scores than those with alpha-synucleinopathies. Hallucinations and delusions were not related to levodopa or dopamine agonist daily doses, but increased age was associated with these disturbances. There were moderate correlations between caregiver distress and severity of neuropsychiatric disturbances. Despite between-group neuropsychiatric differences at early stages, the symptom overlap does not allow to classify patients with these two proteinopathies.