In the context of i-PROGNOSIS, Karolinska Institute (KI), the Technical University Dresden (TUD) and the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki (AUTH) conducted a pilot study exploring the eating behaviour changes in Parkinson’s Disease (PD) patients at different stages of the disease. We release here the preliminary results of the study.

Unintentional weight loss and malnutrition have been observed among Parkinson’s patients. Changes in food intake and eating behavior, potentially caused by fine motor problems and eating-related symptoms (e.g., tremor symptoms, difficulties swallowing and the slow loss of smell) may explain these observations.

Hence, the aim of the study was to find out whether differences in eating behaviour exist at different stages of Parkinson’s disease. 21 patients with early PD, 20 patients with advanced PD and 23 healthy persons were involved in the study. All participants ate a standardized meal comprised of sausages, potato salad, and apple purée while being monitored by cameras at the hospital.

Advanced Parkinson’s patients – both male & female – ate less than healthy persons and early Parkinson’s patients in one single meal. Preliminary analysis reveals that higher clinical tremor scores, fewer number of mouthfuls during the meal and shorter meal durations could be important factors related to this difference.

Further analyses will be conducted to explore other important clinical variables such as swallowing and smell function and their relation food intake.

In conclusion, weight loss and malnutrition among advanced PD patients might be explained by decreased food intake, potentially related to tremor symptoms, shorter meal duration and decreased number of mouthfuls during meals.

Read more about:
The EBePA study launch in April 2018
The interview of the two Karolinska Institutet researchers
The i-PROGNOSIS Publication on Eating Behaviour Monitoring