Gender Differences in Cognitive Functioning in de novo Parkinson’s Disease Patients

Hanna Slomp*, Sygrid Zee, van der, Jeffrey Boertien, Marleen Gerritsen, Jacoba M Spikman, Teus van Laar

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to conferencePosterAcademic


Objective: To clarify the differences in cognitive functioning across different cognitive domains, between male and female de novo PD patients.

Background: Parkinson’s disease (PD) is an age-related, progressive neurodegenerative disorder, with cognitive dysfunction as an important non-motor symptom. Research about the cognitive functions of male versus female PD patients is scarce, inconsistent and lacking control groups.

Methods: A total of 78 PD patients (67% male) and 67 healthy controls (HC; 54% male) took part in the study. Cognitive functions were assessed using a complete neuropsychological assessment battery covering all cognitive domains. The Movement Disorders Society Unified Parkinson Disease Rating Scale part III (MDS-UPDRS III) was used as a measure of motor performance. Male and female patients and HC were compared at baseline on demographic characteristics and neuropsychological performance.

Results: Male patients showed higher MDS-UPDRS III scores (p = .008) and lower MoCA scores (p < .001) than their female counterparts. Female patients presented with better verbal- and visuospatial memory than male patients (p < .01), the same trend was found in HC. Female patients performed better on attention tasks (p < .0125) and tasks assessing executive functioning (p < .01) than male patients. No significant gender differences were found in the domains of language, social cognition, visuospatial functioning and processing speed, for both patients and HC. Female patients did not differ from female HC on any of the tests conducted, whereas male patients performed significantly worse than male HC on tasks of all domains.

Conclusions: The results of this study add further evidence that gender can influence the clinical presentation of both motor and cognitive symptoms of de novo PD, by more severely affecting male patients. Awareness of these differences could provide insight in underlying pathological mechanisms and facilitate diagnosis and gender-specific clinical treatment.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 12-Sept-2020
EventMovement-Disorder-Society (MDS) International Virtual Congress -
Duration: 12-Sept-202016-Sept-2020


ConferenceMovement-Disorder-Society (MDS) International Virtual Congress


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