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Personality May Not Predict Parkinson's
Date:6/12/2009

Finding questions theory that certain traits hint at disease development ,,,,

FRIDAY, June 12 (HealthDay News) -- New research sheds light on two of the mysteries of Parkinson's disease: the spike in creativity that some people develop and a personality type that is thought to be shared by many with the disease.

One new study reports that those who develop heightened creativity lose some of it when they go off certain drugs. And another study has found no link between the kinds of personalities people had in their younger years and their risk of developing Parkinson's.

The second finding is disappointing because it appears to mean that doctors won't have a potential tool to predict the disease, said Dr. Walter A. Rocca, a professor of epidemiology and neurology at the Mayo Clinic College of Medicine.

"There is this very interesting possibility that people at risk of Parkinson's disease could be recognizable many years before they develop the disease itself," Rocca said. "As far as we can tell, this does not seem to be true for personality traits."

Doctors who treat people with Parkinson's had thought differently for quite some time, he said. The assumption was that Parkinson's patients often "would be less willing to take risks or chances, a little bit more morally rigid," Rocca said. "They were into following the rules, very straight, introverted, punctual, conventional."

In their study, Rocca and his colleagues looked at the medical records of 6,842 people who took a test in the early 1960s that gauged their personalities. They then were followed for 40 years to see what happened to them.

Of the participants, 156 developed Parkinson's disease. But the researchers found no indication that people with specific personality types were more likely to develop the disease.

"The beauty of the study is that it's very historical," Rocca said. "You're really able to measure peop
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