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Parkinson's disease is one of the most common age-related neurodegenerative disorders. Although predominantly a motor disorder, cognitive impairment and dementia are important features of Parkinson's disease, particularly in the later stages of the disease. However, the rate of cognitive decline varies among Parkinson's disease patients, and the genetic basis for this heterogeneity is incompletely understood. To explore the genetic factors associated with rate of progression to Parkinson's disease dementia, we performed a genome-wide survival meta-analysis of 3,923 clinically diagnosed Parkinson's disease cases of European ancestry from four longitudinal cohorts. In total, 6.7% of individuals with Parkinson's disease developed dementia during study follow-up, on average 4.4 ± 2.4 years from disease diagnosis. We have identified the APOE ε4 allele as a major risk factor for the conversion to Parkinson's disease dementia [hazards ratio = 2.41 (1.94-3.00), P = 2.32 × 10-15], as well as a new locus within the ApoE and APP receptor LRP1B gene [hazards ratio = 3.23 (2.17-4.81), P = 7.07 × 10-09]. In a candidate gene analysis, GBA variants were also identified to be associated with higher risk of progression to dementia [hazards ratio = 2.02 (1.21-3.32), P = 0.007]. CSF biomarker analysis also implicated the amyloid pathway in Parkinson's disease dementia, with significantly reduced levels of amyloid β42 (P = 0.0012) in Parkinson's disease dementia compared to Parkinson's disease without dementia. These results identify a new candidate gene associated with faster conversion to dementia in Parkinson's disease and suggest that amyloid-targeting therapy may have a role in preventing Parkinson's disease dementia.

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Parkinson’s disease, dementia, genome-wide, survival