Dissecting the Domains of Parkinson's Disease: Insights from Longitudinal Item Response Theory Modeling.



Longitudinal item response theory (IRT) models previously suggested that the Movement Disorder Society Unified Parkinson's Disease Rating Scale (MDS-UPDRS) motor examination has two salient domains, tremor and nontremor, that progress in time and in response to treatment differently.


Apply longitudinal IRT modeling, separating tremor and nontremor domains, to reanalyze outcomes in the previously published clinical trial (Study of Urate Elevation in Parkinson's Disease, Phase 3) that showed no overall treatment effects.


We applied unidimensional and multidimensional longitudinal IRT models to MDS-UPDRS motor examination items in 298 participants with Parkinson's disease from the Study of Urate Elevation in Parkinson's Disease, Phase 3 (placebo vs. inosine) study. We separated 10 tremor items from 23 nontremor items and used Bayesian inference to estimate progression rates and sensitivity to treatment in overall motor severity and tremor and nontremor domains.


The progression rate was faster in the tremor domain than the nontremor domain before levodopa treatment. Inosine treatment had no effect on either domain relative to placebo. Levodopa treatment was associated with greater slowing of progression in the tremor domain than the nontremor domain regardless of inosine exposure. Linear patterns of progression were observed. Despite different domain-specific progression patterns, tremor and nontremor severities at baseline and over time were significantly correlated.


Longitudinal IRT analysis is a novel statistical method addressing limitations of traditional linear regression approaches. It is particularly useful because it can simultaneously monitor changes in different, but related, domains over time and in response to treatment interventions. We suggest that in neurological diseases with distinct impairment domains, clinical or anatomical, this application may identify patterns of change unappreciated by standard statistical methods. © 2022 International Parkinson and Movement Disorder Society.





Published Version (Please cite this version)




Haotian Zou

Postdoctoral Associate

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