Malnutrition in Parkinson's disease and an individualised approach to its management

Sheard, Jamie Marie (2013) Malnutrition in Parkinson's disease and an individualised approach to its management. PhD thesis, Queensland University of Technology.


It has been reported that poor nutritional status, in the form of weight loss and resulting body mass index (BMI) changes, is an issue in people with Parkinson's disease (PWP). The symptoms resulting from Parkinson's disease (PD) and the side effects of PD medication have been implicated in the aetiology of nutritional decline. However, the evidence on which these claims are based is, on one hand, contradictory, and on the other, restricted primarily to otherwise healthy PWP. Despite the claims that PWP suffer from poor nutritional status, evidence is lacking to inform nutrition-related care for the management of malnutrition in PWP. The aims of this thesis were to better quantify the extent of poor nutritional status in PWP, determine the important factors differentiating the well-nourished from the malnourished and evaluate the effectiveness of an individualised nutrition intervention on nutritional status.

Phase DBS: Nutritional status in people with Parkinson's disease scheduled for deep-brain stimulation surgery The pre-operative rate of malnutrition in a convenience sample of people with Parkinson's disease (PWP) scheduled for deep-brain stimulation (DBS) surgery was determined. Poorly controlled PD symptoms may result in a higher risk of malnutrition in this sub-group of PWP. Fifteen patients (11 male, median age 68.0 (42.0 – 78.0) years, median PD duration 6.75 (0.5 – 24.0) years) participated and data were collected during hospital admission for the DBS surgery. The scored PG-SGA was used to assess nutritional status, anthropometric measures (weight, height, mid-arm circumference, waist circumference, body mass index (BMI)) were taken, and body composition was measured using bioelectrical impedance spectroscopy (BIS). Six (40%) of the participants were malnourished (SGA-B) while 53% reported significant weight loss following diagnosis. BMI was significantly different between SGA-A and SGA-B (25.6 vs 23.0kg/m 2, p<.05). There were no differences in any other variables, including PG-SGA score and the presence of non-motor symptoms. The conclusion was that malnutrition in this group is higher than that in other studies reporting malnutrition in PWP, and it is under-recognised. As poorer surgical outcomes are associated with poorer pre-operative nutritional status in other surgeries, it might be beneficial to identify patients at nutritional risk prior to surgery so that appropriate nutrition interventions can be implemented.

Phase I: Nutritional status in community-dwelling adults with Parkinson's disease The rate of malnutrition in community-dwelling adults (>18 years) with Parkinson's disease was determined. One hundred twenty-five PWP (74 male, median age 70.0 (35.0 – 92.0) years, median PD duration 6.0 (0.0 – 31.0) years) participated. The scored PG-SGA was used to assess nutritional status, anthropometric measures (weight, height, mid-arm circumference (MAC), calf circumference, waist circumference, body mass index (BMI)) were taken. Nineteen (15%) of the participants were malnourished (SGA-B). All anthropometric indices were significantly different between SGA-A and SGA-B (BMI 25.9 vs 20.0kg/m2; MAC 29.1 – 25.5cm; waist circumference 95.5 vs 82.5cm; calf circumference 36.5 vs 32.5cm; all p<.05). The PG-SGA score was also significantly lower in the malnourished (2 vs 8, p<.05). The nutrition impact symptoms which differentiated between well-nourished and malnourished were no appetite, constipation, diarrhoea, problems swallowing and feel full quickly. This study concluded that malnutrition in community-dwelling PWP is higher than that documented in community-dwelling elderly (2 – 11%), yet is likely to be under-recognised. Nutrition impact symptoms play a role in reduced intake. Appropriate screening and referral processes should be established for early detection of those at risk.

Phase I: Nutrition assessment tools in people with Parkinson's disease There are a number of validated and reliable nutrition screening and assessment tools available for use. None of these tools have been evaluated in PWP. In the sample described above, the use of the World Health Organisation (WHO) cut-off (≤18.5kg/m2), age-specific BMI cut-offs (≤18.5kg/m2 for under 65 years, ≤23.5kg/m2 for 65 years and older) and the revised Mini-Nutritional Assessment short form (MNA-SF) were evaluated as nutrition screening tools. The PG-SGA (including the SGA classification) and the MNA full form were evaluated as nutrition assessment tools using the SGA classification as the gold standard. For screening, the MNA-SF performed the best with sensitivity (Sn) of 94.7% and specificity (Sp) of 78.3%. For assessment, the PG-SGA with a cut-off score of 4 (Sn 100%, Sp 69.8%) performed better than the MNA (Sn 84.2%, Sp 87.7%). As the MNA has been recommended more for use as a nutrition screening tool, the MNA-SF might be more appropriate and take less time to complete. The PG-SGA might be useful to inform and monitor nutrition interventions.

Phase I: Predictors of poor nutritional status in people with Parkinson's disease A number of assessments were conducted as part of the Phase I research, including those for the severity of PD motor symptoms, cognitive function, depression, anxiety, non-motor symptoms, constipation, freezing of gait and the ability to carry out activities of daily living. A higher score in all of these assessments indicates greater impairment. In addition, information about medical conditions, medications, age, age at PD diagnosis and living situation was collected. These were compared between those classified as SGA-A and as SGA-B. Regression analysis was used to identify which factors were predictive of malnutrition (SGA-B). Differences between the groups included disease severity (4% more severe SGA-A vs 21% SGA-B, p<.05), activities of daily living score (13 SGA-A vs 18 SGA-B, p<.05), depressive symptom score (8 SGA-A vs 14 SGA-B, p<.05) and gastrointestinal symptoms (4 SGA-A vs 6 SGA-B, p<.05). Significant predictors of malnutrition according to SGA were age at diagnosis (OR 1.09, 95% CI 1.01 – 1.18), amount of dopaminergic medication per kg body weight (mg/kg) (OR 1.17, 95% CI 1.04 – 1.31), more severe motor symptoms (OR 1.10, 95% CI 1.02 – 1.19), less anxiety (OR 0.90, 95% CI 0.82 – 0.98) and more depressive symptoms (OR 1.23, 95% CI 1.07 – 1.41). Significant predictors of a higher PG-SGA score included living alone (β=0.14, 95% CI 0.01 – 0.26), more depressive symptoms (β=0.02, 95% CI 0.01 – 0.02) and more severe motor symptoms (OR 0.01, 95% CI 0.01 – 0.02). More severe disease is associated with malnutrition, and this may be compounded by lack of social support.

Phase II: Nutrition intervention Nineteen of the people identified in Phase I as requiring nutrition support were included in Phase II, in which a nutrition intervention was conducted. Nine participants were in the standard care group (SC), which received an information sheet only, and the other 10 participants were in the intervention group (INT), which received individualised nutrition information and weekly follow-up. INT gained 2.2% of starting body weight over the 12 week intervention period resulting in significant increases in weight, BMI, mid-arm circumference and waist circumference. The SC group gained 1% of starting weight over the 12 weeks which did not result in any significant changes in anthropometric indices. Energy and protein intake (18.3kJ/kg vs 3.8kJ/kg and 0.3g/kg vs 0.15g/kg) increased in both groups. The increase in protein intake was only significant in the SC group. The changes in intake, when compared between the groups, were no different. There were no significant changes in any motor or non-motor symptoms or in "off" times or dyskinesias in either group. Aspects of quality of life improved over the 12 weeks as well, especially emotional well-being.

This thesis makes a significant contribution to the evidence base for the presence of malnutrition in Parkinson's disease as well as for the identification of those who would potentially benefit from nutrition screening and assessment. The nutrition intervention demonstrated that a traditional high protein, high energy approach to the management of malnutrition resulted in improved nutritional status and anthropometric indices with no effect on the presence of Parkinson's disease symptoms and a positive effect on quality of life.

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ID Code: 63308
Item Type: QUT Thesis (PhD)
Supervisor: Kerr, Graham, Ash, Susan, & Silburn, Peter
Keywords: idiopathic Parkinson disease, malnutrition, medical nutrition therapy, nutrition assessment, nutritional requirements, nutritional status, nutrition therapy, Parkinson disease, quality of life, randomized controlled trial, undernutrition
Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Health
Current > Institutes > Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation
Institution: Queensland University of Technology
Deposited On: 14 Oct 2013 00:01
Last Modified: 09 Sep 2015 07:00

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