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The relationship between specific cognitive defects and burden of care in Parkinson's disease

  • Michael Zhong (a1), Richard Peppard (a2), Dennis Velakoulis (a3) (a4) and Andrew H. Evans (a5) (a6)



In spite of the recognized physical and psychosocial effects of caring for patients with Parkinson's disease (PD), caregiver burden (CB) in this setting is poorly understood. The objective of this research was to identify factors that were associated with CB in an Australian population of PD caregivers using a novel instrument – the Parkinson's Disease Caregiver Burden (PDCB) questionnaire.


Fifty patient–caregiver couples were recruited from three movement disorders clinics in Melbourne, Australia. Burden on caregivers was rated using the PDCB questionnaire. Burden scores were correlated with patient factors, including motor symptom severity (Unified Parkinson's Disease Ratings Scale and Hoehn & Yahr (H&Y) scale), patient cognition (Neuropsychiatry Unit Cognitive Assessment Tool; NUCOG), presence of impulsive and compulsive behaviors (Questionnaire for Impulsive–Compulsive Disorders in Parkinson's disease), and patient olfaction. Caregiver and patient demographics, as well as results for depression and anxiety (Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale; HADS), were also examined for their relationship with CB.


H&Y stage, depression or anxiety in either caregiver or patient, and decreased patient NUCOG score were significantly associated with higher PDCB score. Multiple linear regression analysis identified caregiver and patient depression score and patient score for the visuoconstructional subscale of NUCOG to predict burden score. In addition, disease duration, duration of caregiving, and increased hours per day spent in giving care were significantly associated with increased burden.


We found psychiatric and cognitive factors to be the most relevant factors in the perception of burden in PD caregivers. On top of this, we found deficits in the domain of visuoconstruction predicted burden – a relationship not yet described in literature. Targeting depression and anxiety in this setting as well as identifying caregivers at high risk of burden may give clinicians the chance to optimize care of patients with PD through the caregiver.


Corresponding author

Correspondence should be addressed to: Dr. Michael Zhong, 163 Lennox St Richmond, Melbourne, Victoria 3192, Australia. Phone: +03-0422-737-611; Fax: +03-9428-7769. Email:


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The relationship between specific cognitive defects and burden of care in Parkinson's disease

  • Michael Zhong (a1), Richard Peppard (a2), Dennis Velakoulis (a3) (a4) and Andrew H. Evans (a5) (a6)


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