Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

US Parkinson's rates highest in whites, Hispanics, and Midwest, Northeast

Date:
February 3, 2010
Source:
Washington University School of Medicine
Summary:
The largest epidemiological study of Parkinson's disease in the United States has found that the disease is more common in the Midwest and the Northeast and is twice as likely to strike whites and Hispanics as blacks and Asians. The study is based on data from 36 million Medicare recipients.

Researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis have conducted the largest epidemiological study of Parkinson's disease. Red areas on the map indicate a prevalence of 13,800 or more Parkinson's patients per 100,000 Medicare recipients.
Credit: Neuroepidemiology/S. Karger AG

The largest epidemiological study of Parkinson's disease in the United States has found that the disease is more common in the Midwest and the Northeast and is twice as likely to strike whites and Hispanics as blacks and Asians.

The study, based on data from 36 million Medicare recipients, is both the first to produce any significant information on patterns of Parkinson's disease in minorities and to show geographic clusters for the condition.

"Finding clusters in the Midwest and the Northeast is particularly exciting," says lead author Allison Wright Willis, M.D., assistant professor of neurology at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis. "These are the two regions of the country most involved in metal processing and agriculture, and chemicals used in these fields are the strongest potential environmental risk factors for Parkinson's disease that we've identified so far."

The results appear online in the journal Neuroepidemiology.

Parkinson's disease is a common neurodegenerative condition that causes tremor, stiffness, slowness, mood and behavioral disorders, sleep problems and other symptoms. The disease is characterized by loss of dopamine, a compound involved in communication between brain cells.

According to Willis, genetic factors explain only a small percent of cases. Environmental factors are likely more common contributors and may include prolonged exposures to herbicides and insecticides used in farming or to metals such as copper, manganese and lead.

For the new study, Willis analyzed data on more than 450,000 cases of Parkinson's disease per year over six years, 1995 and 2000-2005. Collectively, that data included information from more than 98 percent of all Americans 65 and older.

Willis found Asians and blacks developed Parkinson's disease at half the rate of whites and Hispanics.

"We are going to try to learn more about why this is the case," says Willis. "It could be that those with Asian or African ancestry have genes that help protect them from exposure to environmental factors that cause Parkinson's disease, or they may have fewer exposures to those factors."

Epidemiologists have long debated whether Parkinson's disease is more prevalent in rural or urban areas, with some studies showing higher rates in cities and some in the countryside. Willis found the condition is more common in urban areas but concluded the comparison between the two rates offered little potential for insight into the disease.

"It's always been an open question as to how to best define the terms 'urban' and 'rural,'" she says. "Urban and rural is defined in many different and relatively arbitrary ways, and we came away convinced by our results that these distinctions have little to do with what is causing the disease."

Willis and her colleagues plan further studies of how exposure to single or combined environmental factors influences disease risk.

"This was the largest descriptive epidemiological study yet to be conducted of Parkinson's disease in the United States, and it has both given us some interesting new leads for the future research and reinforced some ideas we already had," she says.

Funding from the National Institute for Environmental Health Science, the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, and the National Center for Research Resources supported this research.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Washington University School of Medicine. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Wright Willis et al. Geographic and Ethnic Variation in Parkinson Disease: A Population-Based Study of US Medicare Beneficiaries. Neuroepidemiology, 2010; 34 (3): 143 DOI: 10.1159/000275491

Cite This Page:

Washington University School of Medicine. "US Parkinson's rates highest in whites, Hispanics, and Midwest, Northeast." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 3 February 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/01/100127164022.htm>.
Washington University School of Medicine. (2010, February 3). US Parkinson's rates highest in whites, Hispanics, and Midwest, Northeast. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 25, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/01/100127164022.htm
Washington University School of Medicine. "US Parkinson's rates highest in whites, Hispanics, and Midwest, Northeast." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/01/100127164022.htm (accessed July 25, 2014).

Share This




More Health & Medicine News

Friday, July 25, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

New Painkiller Designed To Discourage Abuse: Will It Work?

New Painkiller Designed To Discourage Abuse: Will It Work?

Newsy (July 24, 2014) The FDA approved Targiniq ER on Wednesday, a painkiller designed to keep users from abusing it. Like any new medication, however, it has doubters. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Doctor At Forefront Of Fighting Ebola Outbreak Gets Ebola

Doctor At Forefront Of Fighting Ebola Outbreak Gets Ebola

Newsy (July 24, 2014) Sheik Umar Khan has treated many of the people infected in the Ebola outbreak, and now he's become one of them. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Condemned Man's US Execution Takes Nearly Two Hours

Condemned Man's US Execution Takes Nearly Two Hours

AFP (July 24, 2014) America's death penalty debate raged Thursday after it took nearly two hours for Arizona to execute a prisoner who lost a Supreme Court battle challenging the experimental lethal drug cocktail. Duration: 00:55 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Can Watching TV Make You Feel Like A Failure?

Can Watching TV Make You Feel Like A Failure?

Newsy (July 24, 2014) A study by German researchers claims watching TV while you're stressed out can make you feel guilty and like a failure. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

    Health News

      Environment News

        Technology News



          Save/Print:
          Share:

          Free Subscriptions


          Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

          Get Social & Mobile


          Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

          Have Feedback?


          Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
          Mobile: iPhone Android Web
          Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
          Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
          Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins