The coronavirus pandemic is impacting everyone across the globe. But until recently, we had little to no research on how it was specifically affecting people with Parkinson’s disease (PD). And that’s why leading Parkinson’s scientists stepped up to the plate and worked urgently to deploy a first-of-its-kind survey through The Michael J. Fox Foundation’s (MJFF) online clinical study, Fox Insight.
The goal of the COVID-19 survey, which launched on April 23, is to identify the effects of the global pandemic on Parkinson’s symptoms and disruptions in care. In the first month, the survey received 7,209 responses from people with or without Parkinson’s disease — this equals an incredible 10 survey responses every hour over 30 days and makes this the largest data set on COVID-19 and Parkinson’s to date!
Dr. Tanner and her team analyzed data from the survey’s first month. They found 51 people with Parkinson’s reported a COVID-19 diagnosis, which is currently the largest group of people with PD and COVID-19 in research to date. The survey revealed that during a COVID-19 infection, 55 percent of people with PD reported worsening of an existing motor symptom (tremor, slowness, imbalance) and more than 50 percent reported worsening of non-motor symptoms (mood issues, digestive problems, fatigue). For example, when asked about mood issues (anxiety, depression, apathy), 51 percent of respondents reported worsening of symptoms while 20 percent reported experiencing these for the first time. This information can help doctors assess patients’ needs and provide better care.