Rinsho Shinkeigaku (Clinical Neurology)

Original Article

The effects of the Kumamoto earthquake on the clinical symptoms of patients with Parkinson's disease

Hiroko Hori, M.D.1), Aki Kuratomi, M.D.1), Masatoshi Ishizaki, M.D., Ph.D.1), Tetsuro Sakamoto, M.D., Ph.D.1), Yasuto Nishida, M.D., Ph.D.1) and Yukio Ando, M.D., Ph.D.2)

1)Department of Neurology, National Hospital Organization Kumamotominami National Hospital
2)Department of Neurology, Graduate School of Medical Sciences, Kumamoto University

Our hospital is the designated treatment base for intractable neurological diseases in the Kumamoto Prefecture. It is located in the center of the prefecture where the major 7.3-magnitude Kumamoto earthquake was recorded in 2016. In order to examine whether this earthquake affected the clinical symptoms of patients with Parkinson's disease in this hospital, we investigated outpatients examined up to 4 weeks after the earthquake. The subjects were 26 consecutive patients without any changes in anti-Parkinson's disease treatment or their attending physician during the examination period. All of the items in Part III of the Unified Parkinson's Disease Rating Scale (UPDRS), which is a clinician-scored scale for monitoring and evaluating motor function, were confirmed with the subjects before and after the earthquakes. After the earthquakes, worsened symptoms were found in 7 patients and 7 patients felt better. On the UPDRS, worsened symptoms were most commonly found among the items examining "muscle rigidity" and "slowness of movement and decreased movement" among the 7 patients with exacerbated symptoms. After the earthquake, clinical symptoms worsened significantly in women (P = 0.0188), patients with mild symptoms (P = 0.0111), and those who suffered a high degree of personal loss, such as those whose homes were damaged, who were forced to take refuge, or who had to sleep in their car (P = 0.0184). The mental and emotional burden due to the earthquake might be particularly high in the group of patients with worsened symptoms, suggestive of a relationship between stress and the exacerbation of parkinsonian symptoms.
Full Text of this Article in Japanese PDF (430K)

(CLINICA NEUROL, 57: 425|429, 2017)
key words: Kumamoto Earthquake, Parkinson's disease, disaster, stress

(Received: 26-Jul-16)