View Full Version : Parkinson's Disease and ADHD

03-24-15, 08:35 PM
Anyone else here been dx with Parkinsonism or Parkinson's disease at an early age. Apparently,the loss of dopamine is potentially related(as in strongly related!) to ADHD as well!

04-23-15, 12:41 PM
So Ive been thinking about this for a while and I decided to do some research for an answer...
Parkinson's Disease is caused by low levels of Dopamine in the brain and it is now believed that adhd is also caused by low levels of Dopamine along with other neurotransmitters. Although PD and ADHD effect a different portion of the brain, I was wondering if there is a connection between the two. I did some research(not much though) and apparently there are others that have the same question as me.
I did find something major though: An undergrad student made a huge discovery linking ADHD to Parkinson’s Disease that was actually brought to the Michael J. Fox Foundation, which is a PD organization.
Here is quote from the discovery that the student made:

The development of my hypothesis began after my own clinical diagnosis of ADHD. Naturally, finding out that I had lived 19 years of my life with an undiagnosed neurological disorder made be passionately curious about the subject. Furthermore, the estimated prevalence rate of 5% in North America led me to believe that ADHD was a massively under-diagnosed disorder, which is a common result of a general lack of knowledge on the subject. Furthermore, I concluded that there must be a missing link to another neurological disorder with a similar incidence rate, as neurological disorders do not have a tendency to fix themselves without medical intervention. Studies have shown that PD has a prevalence rate of approximately 1% in seniors over the age of 60 and a prevalence of over 4% in seniors over 80 (3). It seems reasonable to me that a statistical correlation may indeed exist between the prevalence of ADHD and PD if factors resulting in early-aged death are accounted for.

Another curious commonality between PD and ADHD is the absence of environmental risk factors. However, genetic risk factors for both PD and ADHD have been identified with a mutation of the DRD4 gene being a common risk factor for both. This common genetic risk factor was of particular interest to me as I had noticed a high number of ADHD-like symptoms in my father as well as ADHD-like symptoms in my grandmother who is currently suffering from clinically diagnosed PD.

However, my initial research into PD was not focused on identifying a causal pathway but rather was focused on identifying a better method of treatment for my grandmother’s deteriorating condition. Her case was particularly thought provoking, as her symptoms were much worse than they should have been at her stage of the disease. Despite being treated with l-dopa for her PD and lexapro (an SSRI class drug) for her depression, symptoms of depression and central nerve pain persisted. After suggesting to my father that regular physical activity might help improve her depression as well as delay the progression of PD, he informed me that he had tried his best to encourage this but that my grandmother seemed to have given up mentally and exhibited a severe lack of motivation. Although most doctors would identify lack of motivation as a sign of depression and prescribe SSRIs to increase serotonin levels, I realized that lack of motivation was also indicative of deficient levels of dopamine such as those seen in ADHD.

After arriving at this conclusion, I decided to investigate the documented use of amphetamines in treating PD and what I found, or rather was unable to find, was astonishing. To this date, there have been no majorly funded studies conducted on the efficacy of methylphenidate in treating PD. After delving further into this mystery, I stumbled upon a study published in 1975 that reported a drastic reduction in PD symptoms when patients were given a combination of amphetamines and l-dopa in comparison to groups receiving treatment by l-dopa or amphetamines alone (4). However, the incredible significance of this discovery was not realized at the time since ADHD and Ritalin were still foreign terms in the medical community.

I think this is fascinating! My dad has adhd and so do I, so there's the genetic link for me. But my grandfather and his sister both have PD however they are not my fathers side of the family- they're my mother's side.Anyone else have PD in their family along with adhd??

The study was proposed by Kent Mao on, in case anyone wants to look it up.

05-25-15, 01:52 AM
The problem with taking methylphenidate and l-dopa together is that dyskenisia is worse.

With that said, methyphenidate alone might be an alternative to l-dopa.

And it apparently helps with freezing.

My mom has Parkinson's, and likely ADHD as well.