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Olfactory function distinguishes vascular parkinsonism from Parkinson’s disease
  1. R Katzenschlager1,
  2. J Zijlmans3,
  3. A Evans2,
  4. H Watt4,
  5. A J Lees1
  1. 1Reta Lila Weston Institute of Neurological Studies, London W1, UK
  2. 2National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery, Queen Square, London WC1
  3. 3Vrije Universiteit Medisch Centrum, Amsterdam, Netherlands
  4. 4Medical Statistics Unit, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and Institute of Neurology, Queen Square, London WC1
  1. Correspondence to:
 Professor A J Lees
 Reta Lila Weston Institute of Neurological Studies, Windeyer Building, 46 Cleveland Street, London W1T 4JF, UK;


Objective: To compare olfactory function in vascular parkinsonism and Parkinson’s disease diagnosed according to published clinical diagnostic criteria.

Methods: The University of Pennsylvania smell identification test (UPSIT) was carried out in 14 patients with vascular parkinsonism, 18 with Parkinson’s disease, and 27 normal controls matched for age, sex, and smoking status.

Results: UPSIT scores in vascular parkinsonism (mean 26.1, 95% confidence interval, 23.1 to 29.0) were significantly better than in Parkinson’s disease (mean 17.1 (14.5 to 19.7)) (p<0.0001), and did not differ from the healthy controls (mean 27.6 (25.8 to 29.4)) (p = 0.32).

Conclusions: Testing olfactory function may be helpful in differentiating vascular parkinsonism from Parkinson’s disease.

  • UPSIT, University of Pennsylvania smell identification test
  • olfactory function
  • vascular parkinsonism
  • Parkinson’s disease

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  • Competing interests: none declared