Nov. 24, 2000 ST. PAUL, MN - Parkinson's disease occurs in men two times more frequently than in women, according to a study in the November 14 issue of Neurology, the scientific journal of the American Academy of Neurology.
The study followed for three years a group of 4,341 elderly Italian people with no signs of Parkinson's. During that time, 29 men and 13 women developed Parkinson's disease, and another 14 men and 12 women developed symptoms of Parkinson's disease due to other causes, such as dementia or stroke.
The rate of new cases of Parkinson's disease among people ages 65 to 84 is 326 per 100,000 people each year, according to the study. The rate for those with any symptoms of Parkinson's is 530 per 100,000 people each year.
Researchers don't know why Parkinson's is more common in men. One theory is that estrogen protects women from the disease.
The study also found that the risk of developing Parkinson's for both men and women increases with age. That finding lends weight to the theory that Parkinson's is a result of the interaction between normal aging and environmental or genetic risk factors, according to study author Marzia Baldereschi, MD, of the Italian National Research Council in Firenze, Italy.
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