In patients with Parkinson’s disease (PD), depression has a strong impact on quality of life (QoL). However, little is known about the influence of subthreshold depression (STD) on QoL in PD patients.
A total of 230 hospitalized PD patients with normal and impaired cognitive status were included in this observational study. We collected the following data for analysis: Beck Depression Inventory level, Montreal Cognitive Assessment (MOCA) score, non-motor symptoms questionnaire score, PD questionnaire-39 (PDQ-39) score, Hoehn–Yahr stage, and Movement Disorder Society-sponsored revision of the unified PD rating scale III (MDS-UPDRS III) score. To study the impact of STD on the PDQ-39 summary index (SI) and its domains, we used multivariate analysis of variance and multivariate analysis of covariance.
In this cohort, 80 (34.8%) patients had STD [44 (32.3%) with high MOCA score (> 21) and 36 (38.3%) with low MOCA score (< 21)]. In PDQ-39 SI, there was a significant effect on depression level. In patients with higher MOCA score, STD was associated with worse PDQ-39 domains emotional well-being and cognition, whereas in patients with lower MOCA score, STD had no significant effect on PDQ-39 SI or its subdomains.
In PD patients, QoL is significantly affected by STD, and thus, more attention in medical care should be focused on treating STD. However, the impact is only observable in PD patients with normal cognitive function. STD patients show more reduced QoL than non-depressed patients, indicating that STD should be treated as a transition zone between normal mood and depression.