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The Parkinson's Phenome: Traits Associated with Parkinson's Disease in a Large and Deeply Phenotyped Cohort

By Karl Heilbron, Alastair Noyce, Pierre Fontanillas, Babak Alipanahi, Mike A Nalls, Paul Cannon

Posted 28 Feb 2018
bioRxiv DOI: 10.1101/270934

Background. Observational studies have begun to characterize the wide spectrum of phenotypes associated with Parkinson's disease (PD), but recruiting large numbers of PD cases and assaying a diversity of phenotypes has often been difficult. Here, we set out to systematically describe the PD phenome using a cross-sectional case-control design in a large database. Methods. We analyzed the association between PD and 840 phenotypes derived from online surveys. For each phenotype, we ran a logistic regression using an average of 5,141 PD cases and 65,459 age- and sex-matched controls. We selected uncorrelated phenotypes, determined statistical significance after correcting for multiple testing, and systematically assessed the novelty of each significant association. We tested whether significant phenotypes were also associated with disease duration in PD cases. Findings. PD diagnosis was associated with 149 independent phenotypes. We replicated 32 known associations and discovered 49 associations that have not previously been reported. We found that migraine, obsessive-compulsive disorder, seasonal allergies, and anemia were associated with PD, but were not significantly associated with PD duration, and tend to occur decades before the average age of diagnosis for PD. Further work is needed to determine whether these phenotypes are PD risk factors or whether they share common disease mechanisms. Interpretation. We used a systematic approach in a single large dataset to assess the spectrum of traits that were associated with PD. Some of these traits may be risk factors for PD, features of the pre-diagnostic phase of disease, or manifestations of PD pathology. The model outputs from all 840 logistic regressions are available to the research community and may be used to generate hypotheses regarding PD etiology. Funding. The Michael J. Fox Foundation, Parkinson's UK, Barts Charity, National Institute on Aging, and 23andMe, Inc.

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