Parkinson disease may be getting more common

Parkinson disease may be getting more common”

MONDAY, June 20, 2016- Rates of Parkinson's disease may be on the rise for USA men over the past three decades, and the trend could be tied to declines in smoking, a new study suggests.

A previous study suggested smokers may have reduced the risk of Parkinson disease (PD) and speculated the decline in smoking by men in the USA after a peak in the 1940s and 1950s could result in an increase in PD incidence decades later.

Nicotine seems to be beneficial for animals in parkinsonism studies, he said.

Previous research suggested smokers may have a reduced risk of Parkinson's disease and anti-smoking campaigns from the late 40s could be behind increased prevalence of the disease decades later. PD was defined as parkinsonism with all three of the following features: no other cause, no documentation of unresponsiveness to levodopa, and no prominent or early signs of more extensive nervous system involvement.

Dr. Walter Rocca of the Mayo Clinic, Rochester in Minnesota studied trends for the disease in a county from 1976 to 2005.

It included 906 patients with parkinsonism with a median age at onset of 74, of whom 501 were men.

For men, parkinsonism incidence increased from 39 to 56 cases per 100,000 people per year between the 1976-1985 decade and the 1996-2005 decade.

No similar increases were seen among women, the researchers said.

Rates of Parkinson's Disease also increased in men from 18.2 to 30.4 per 100,000 for the same periods. So, the decline in the habit among American men - after peaking in the 1940s and 1950s - might lead to higher rates of Parkinson's decades later, the researchers theorized.

However, Dr. Rocca admitted the rise could also be due to factors including increased awareness of symptoms, improved access to care of patients, and better recognition by doctors.

He said: "Our study suggests that the incidence of parkinsonism and Parkinson's disease may have increased between 1976 and 2005, particularly in men 70 years old and older".

'These trends may be associated with the dramatic changes in smoking behaviour that took place in the second half of the 20th century or with other lifestyle or environmental changes.

"Cigarette smoking has numerous adverse health effects, but its inverse association with Parkinson disease was observed in nearly every epidemiological study", Chen added. However, results of the Savica et al study and a similar previous analysis may offer indirect support for causality: "the increase of PD incidence may follow decrease in cigarette smoking over the past 50 years, a trend that also affects men more than women", Honglei Chen, M.D., Ph.D., of the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, Triangle Park, N.C., writes in a related editorial. "However, the trends could be spurious and need to be confirmed in other populations", the study concludes.

The new report was published online June 20 in the journal JAMA Neurology.

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