The Relationship Between Fear of Falling, respectively, Fear of Choking and Emotional and Cognitive Functioning in Huntington’s Disease, Parkinson’s Disease and Dementia: a Review

K. Kalkers, Els Derksen, Jacques C. L. Neyens, Jos Schols, Raymund A.C. Roos

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Context: Choking and accidental falls are common incidents in patients with Huntington’s disease (HD). It is not clear which emotional and cognitive factors contribute to the development of fear of choking (FoC) or fear of falling (FoF).
Objective: To explore the relationship between cognition, awareness and anxiety and experiencing FoC or FoF in HD, Parkinson’s disease (PD) and dementia. As the literature on HD is expected to be limited, the study population will be expanded by also looking at PD and dementia, both of which are neurodegenerative diseases that share symptoms and signs with HD.
Methods: A systematic review of English, German and Dutch articles using the electronic databases: MEDLINE, Embase, CINAHL and Psychinfo. Only studies describing the influence of cognition, awareness and anxiety on the outcome measures FoF and FoC in patients with HD, PD or dementia were included
Results: For HD, no reports were found related to the objective of the study and no studies on FoC were found for PD or dementia. The results of studies addressing FoF in PD and dementia were contradictory as far as the relationship with cognition (PD n=5; dementia n=8) and anxiety (PD n=2) was concerned. No study on FoF in relation to awareness was found in any patient group.
Conclusions: Although dysphagia and accidental falls are common symptoms of HD, PD and dementia, data on emotional and cognitive factors and their relationship with FoC and FoF are limited. Available data are inconsistent. Future research focusing specifically on these topics might lead to better insight into the relationship between FoC, FoF and cognitive, emotional and behavioral functioning of patients with these diseases. Better insight in these subjects could result in therapeutic options for patients or guidelines for caregivers, with regard to prevention and coping strategies, to improve quality of care.
Original languageEnglish
Article number1006
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Memory Disorders and Rehabilitation
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2017

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