Autonomic dysfunction frequently occurs in the context of Parkinson disease (PD) and may precede onset of motor symptoms. Limited data exist on the prospective association of heart rate variability (HRV), a marker of autonomic function, with PD risk. We included 12,162 participants of the Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities study, a community-based cohort, without a diagnosis of PD at baseline (1987-1989) and with available HRV data (mean age = 54 years, 57% women). A 2-minute electrocardiogram was used to measure HRV. Incident PD was identified through 2008 from multiple sources, and adjudicated. Multivariable Cox models were used to estimate hazard ratios (HRs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) of PD by quartiles of HRV measurements. During a mean follow-up of 18 years, we identified 78 incident PD cases. Lower values of the root mean square of successive differences in normal-to-normal R-R intervals (rMSSD) and standard deviation of normal-to-normal R-R intervals (SDNN), markers of parasympathetic activity and total variability, respectively, were associated with higher PD risk during follow-up. In multivariate models, the HR (95% CI) of PD in the bottom quartiles of rMSSD and SDNN compared to the top quartiles were 2.1 (1....Continue Reading
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