Feeling of being watched can be a sign of Parkinson’s

01/6​Do you feel someone is watching you?​

Hallucinations are feelings that someone is close by, while actually you are all alone. These can be scary and are often dismissed. However, a new researcher has found that they’re common in people with Parkinson’s disease.

Hallucinations are defined as false perceptions of sensory experience. They typically arise from abnormalities in the brain function, which is why they can become more prevalent with brain diseases such as Parkinson’s. The new research has been published in the journal ‘Nature Mental Health’.


02/6​How many patients experience it?​

The researchers reported that one in two people with Parkinson’s are thought to regularly experience hallucinations. For a third of patients, hallucinations show up as an early sign, even before more widely known symptoms such as trembling.


03/6​About the study​

The researchers collected data on 75 patients with Parkinson’s disease, aged between 60 and 70. They used neuropsychological interviews to assess cognitive decline and electroencephalography (EEG) to measure the brain at rest. Patients were also asked about any experiences with presence hallucinations.


04/6​Symptom to be taken seriously​

The team found that cognitive decline of frontal executive function was more rapid across five years in patients who experienced hallucinations early in the disease’s progression. The frontal executive function covers attention, problem solving, emotional regulation, and impulse control.

“We now know that early hallucinations are to be taken seriously in Parkinson’s disease,” says physician and neurologist Olaf Blanke from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Lausanne (École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne, or EPFL).


05/6​Detecting symptoms early is important​

06/6​Other symptoms of Parkinson’s​

Following are the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease, according to the US NIH:

  • Tremor in hands, arms, legs, jaw, or head
  • Muscle stiffness, where muscle remains contracted for a long time
  • Slowness of movement
  • Impaired balance and coordination, sometimes leading to falls
  • Depression and other emotional changes
  • Difficulty swallowing, chewing, and speaking
  • Urinary problems or constipation
  • Skin problems


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