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In a letter to The Journal of Neuropsychiatry & Clinical Neurosciences, Dr En-King Tan challenges the conclusions of a study that ran recently in the publication.

The original study concluded that panic attacks are a helpful tool in the diagnosis of Parkinson’s disease (PD). Dr Tan challenges this assumption because the study lacked longitudinal data. For the study to be convincing, he feels that a patient’s personality, before the onset of Parkinson’s, and a family history of psychiatric disorder(s) would have been helpful.

Dr Tan feels that the more interesting question is what proportion of Parkinson’s disease patients have a history of panic attacks before being diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease. To address that issue, Dr Tan interviewed and examined 53 newly diagnosed Parkinson’s disease patients. The patients in his survey had an average age of 62-years and approximately 50% were between 1 to 4 on the Hoehn and Yahr stage.

The results of his study showed that there was no evidence of panic disorder prior to Parkinson’s disease diagnosis. He did not find a cause-effect relationship of panic disorder indicating the onset of Parkinson’s disease.