Parkinson’s disease seems to have engulfed innumerable people, but novel discoveries can help tackle it. A prior investigation claimed that jellyfish helps in treating this ailment. A groundbreaking study supposedly highlights the way old people are when they first develop Parkinson’s disease. Study findings can possibly open doors in gauging how long such patients can survive with the disease.

Investigators initiated a 12 year study on 230 people with Parkinson’s disease, among whom 211 died by completion of the investigation. While the average time from appearance of movement problems to death was 16 years, the average age at death was 81. It was noted that risk of early death was elevated by almost 1.4 times for every 10-year progression in age when symptoms occurred. Those reporting psychotic symptoms faced 1.5 times more risk of dying sooner than those without these indications.

Elin Bjelland Forsaa, MD, with Stavanger University Hospital in Norway and a member of the American Academy of Neurology, commented, “Remarkably, time to death for these people took anywhere from two to 37 years from diagnosis so it’s important we try to identify those risk factors that lead to an early death so we can find ways to increase a person’s life expectancy.”

Patients revealing symptoms of dementia had two times higher chances of dying early as compared to those without memory problems. Even gender differences were seemingly registered. It was observed that men were 1.6 times more able to die early from the disease than women. Volunteers scoring worst on movement tests probably had significant chances of early death as compared to those with the highest scores. It was concluded that treatments to prevent or delay the progression of movement problems, psychosis and dementia in people with Parkinson’s disease can possibly ensure longer survival. No negative effect on survival appeared in patients consuming antipsychotic drugs or medications for treating Parkinson’s disease.

The study is published in the October 5, 2010, print issue of Neurology, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology.