Int J Med Sci 2017; 14(4):319-322. doi:10.7150/ijms.18025

Short Research Communication

Parkinson's disease might increase the risk of cerebral ischemic lesions

In-Uk Song1, Ji-Eun Lee2, Do-Young Kwon3, Jeong-Ho Park4, Hyeo-Il Ma5✉

1. Department of Neurology, Incheon St. Mary's Hospital, The Catholic University of Korea, Seoul, South Korea;
2. Department of Neurology, National Health, Insurance Corporation Ilsan Hospital, Ilsan, South Korea;
3. Department of Neurology, Korea University Ansan Hospital, Korea University, Ansan, South Korea;
4. Department of Neurology, College of Medicine, Soonchunhyang University, Seoul, South Korea;
5. Department of Neurology, College of Medicine, Hallym University, Anyang, South Korea.

This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY-NC) license ( See for full terms and conditions.
Song IU, Lee JE, Kwon DY, Park JH, Ma HI. Parkinson's disease might increase the risk of cerebral ischemic lesions. Int J Med Sci 2017; 14(4):319-322. doi:10.7150/ijms.18025. Available from

File import instruction


Background: Parkinson's disease (PD) is the second most common neurodegenerative disease in the elderly. Cerebrovascular diseases such as cerebral ischemic lesion (CIL) also commonly occur in elderly adults. However, previous studies on the relationship between PD and cerebrovascular disease have not found consistent results. Therefore, we conducted this study to evaluate whether or not PD is related to an increased prevalence of ischemic cerebrovascular lesions.

Methods: This study recruited 241 patients with PD and 112 healthy controls (HCs). All subjects underwent brain magnetic resonance imaging and general neuropsychological tests. The motor severity of PD was evaluated according to the Hoehn and Yahr stage (HY stage), and the severity of CIL in all subjects was classified according to Fazekas grade. The PD patients were classified into two subgroups according to HY stage (Group 1 - HY 1, 2; Group 2 - HY 3 to 5).

Results: Among all PD patients, 76% had small vessel disease, while 44% of all HCs had small vessel disease (p<0.001). Regarding the difference between the two subgroups according to motor severity, group 2 showed significantly higher Fazekas scale score and more severe CIL, indicating a higher prevalence of small vessel disease compared to group 1.

Conclusion: This study demonstrates that PD patients have a significantly higher prevalence of CIL compared to HCs. Therefore, although the present study is not a large-scale study, we cautiously suggest that PD can play an important role as a risk factor in the occurrence of ischemic cerebrovascular disease.

Keywords: Parkinson's disease, cerebral ischemic lesion, Fazekas scale