Parkinson’s Dulls Physical Response to Emotions: Study

A new study has suggested that anger, disgust, and even sadness hit with less force for those who have the neurodegenerative disorder.When a wave of anger washes over most people, their heart might race, their face could flush, and palms grow sweaty. But for those living with Parkinson’s disease, that same emotional surge doesn’t pack the same physical punch, according to new research.Parkinson’s patients experience dulled bodily sensations when feeling intense emotions like anger, disgust, sadness and surprise compared to those without the neurological condition, the study noted.Autonomic Issues in Parkinson’s May Underlie Muted EmotionsEmotions are sometimes accompanied by strong physical reactions like increased heart rate and blood pressure when feeling excited or afraid—responses triggered by the autonomic nervous system and sensorimotor systems. These physical manifestations can be exacerbated or muted by neurological and psychiatric disorders.A Finnish research team found Parkinson’s disease mutes the physical symptoms of emotional responses, the first study showing such abnormalities from a neurological disorder.The study, published in Movement Disorders, involved 380 Parkinson’s patients and 79 control subjects identifying bodily sensations for emotions like anger, disgust, and sadness by marking them on a digital human body map.The researchers discovered Parkinson’s patients experienced weaker bodily sensations for anger, disgust, sadness, and surprise compared to those without the disease.Theories About the Muted Physical ExperienceThe research team theorized that Parkinson’s patients experienced diminished physical anger symptoms—such as increased blood pressure, sweaty forehead, or feeling flushed—due to decreased cardiac sympathetic denervation, a common autonomic issue in Parkinson’s that can lead to heart problems.“The results of our study raise many interesting questions about the role of emotions in the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease,” Dr. Juho Joutsa, chief neurologist at Turku University Hospital and principal investigator of the study, said in a press release. “Extending our research method to other diseases offers new possibilities for neurology research.”Related Stories10/29/202310/13/2023The team noted no significant differences based on age, alcohol use, or smoking.They theorize the muted physical experience of emotions results from progressive autonomic nervous system dysfunction associated with Parkinson’s, which also causes circulatory and gastrointestinal issues. Parkinson’s is linked to many non-motor symptoms like depression and anxiety.“In recent years, there has been a growing realisation that the non-motor symptoms of Parkinson’s disease have a significant impact on the patients’ quality of life. The results of our study highlight yet another non-motor phenomenon,” Dr. Kalle Niemi, clinician-scientist in Neurology and co-author of the study said in a press release.

Parkinson’s Dulls Physical Response to Emotions: Study

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A new study has suggested that anger, disgust, and even sadness hit with less force for those who have the neurodegenerative disorder.

When a wave of anger washes over most people, their heart might race, their face could flush, and palms grow sweaty. But for those living with Parkinson’s disease, that same emotional surge doesn’t pack the same physical punch, according to new research.

Parkinson’s patients experience dulled bodily sensations when feeling intense emotions like anger, disgust, sadness and surprise compared to those without the neurological condition, the study noted.

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Autonomic Issues in Parkinson’s May Underlie Muted Emotions

Emotions are sometimes accompanied by strong physical reactions like increased heart rate and blood pressure when feeling excited or afraid—responses triggered by the autonomic nervous system and sensorimotor systems. These physical manifestations can be exacerbated or muted by neurological and psychiatric disorders.

A Finnish research team found Parkinson’s disease mutes the physical symptoms of emotional responses, the first study showing such abnormalities from a neurological disorder.

The study, published in Movement Disorders, involved 380 Parkinson’s patients and 79 control subjects identifying bodily sensations for emotions like anger, disgust, and sadness by marking them on a digital human body map.

The researchers discovered Parkinson’s patients experienced weaker bodily sensations for anger, disgust, sadness, and surprise compared to those without the disease.

.

Theories About the Muted Physical Experience

The research team theorized that Parkinson’s patients experienced diminished physical anger symptoms—such as increased blood pressure, sweaty forehead, or feeling flushed—due to decreased cardiac sympathetic denervation, a common autonomic issue in Parkinson’s that can lead to heart problems.
“The results of our study raise many interesting questions about the role of emotions in the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease,” Dr. Juho Joutsa, chief neurologist at Turku University Hospital and principal investigator of the study, said in a press release. “Extending our research method to other diseases offers new possibilities for neurology research.”

The team noted no significant differences based on age, alcohol use, or smoking.

They theorize the muted physical experience of emotions results from progressive autonomic nervous system dysfunction associated with Parkinson’s, which also causes circulatory and gastrointestinal issues. Parkinson’s is linked to many non-motor symptoms like depression and anxiety.

“In recent years, there has been a growing realisation that the non-motor symptoms of Parkinson’s disease have a significant impact on the patients’ quality of life. The results of our study highlight yet another non-motor phenomenon,” Dr. Kalle Niemi, clinician-scientist in Neurology and co-author of the study said in a press release.

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