Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Getting an accurate read on Parkinson's

Date:
June 29, 2011
Source:
American Friends of Tel Aviv University
Summary:
Through the use of a new statistical algorithm, scientists have traced drug use as reflected in the records of a major Israeli HMO. The results more accurately reflect the true extent of Parkinson's disease in the Israeli population. Researchers found the prevalence rate of Parkinson's higher than previously thought, and that the rate is growing by six percent per year.

Parkinson's Disease, brought to public awareness by figures such as Michael J. Fox, is not just difficult to diagnose. It's also difficult to accurately estimate how many people actually suffer from the disease. Current statistics come from small-scale studies, usually based on information from hospital clinics, and no registries or formal databases exist to track how many people have the disease.

Related Articles


Dr. Chava Peretz of Tel Aviv University's School of Public Health at the Sackler Faculty of Medicine, Ph.D. student Orly Chillag-Talmor from Haifa University and researchers from Tel Aviv Sourasky Medical Center and Maccabi Healthcare Services have devised a unique algorithm to more precisely determine the size of a population that suffers from the disease. This will permit researchers to better prepare for the consequences to public health, and provide more realistic estimates on how much it will cost to treat this growing number of patients.

The researchers have developed a refined drug-tracer algorithm. Based upon a patient's medication history, it assigns them to one of three potential categories of Parkinson's sufferers: those who definitely have the disease, those who probably have it, and those who only possibly have it. The algorithm identifies patients in each of these categories with 95 percent accuracy. The results of the research recently appeared in the Journal of Parkinson's Disease.

Sifting through a decade of prescriptions

It has been estimated that one percent of the population over the age of 60 suffers from Parkinson's, but Dr. Peretz questioned this estimate, believing that the numbers might be far greater.

Their algorithm is based on four factors: the kind of anti-Parkinson drug prescribed; the age at which the patient was first entered into the system; the length of the follow-up period; and the number and continuity of drug purchases. They then compared her results to the database of purchased pharmaceuticals from Israel's second largest HMO, Maccabi Health Care. This database comprises ten years' worth of prescriptions, representing about 25 percent of the population.

Researchers were searching for both prevalent cases (the number of people currently living with Parkinson's) and incident cases (the number of people each year newly diagnosed with the disease). "Based on this algorithm," Dr. Peretz explains, "we identified about 7,000 Parkinson's disease prevalent cases and about 5,000 incident cases in the study period."

These results, notes Dr. Peretz, represented a departure from previously accepted statistics and confirmed her suspicions. The team determined that the prevalence rate for the population was one percent for patients over 50 years of age, two percent for those over 60, and three percent for ages 70 and above -- twice the previous estimation. In addition, the mean age at time of first diagnosis was found to be around 70 years, rather than 60 years.

To confirm the results, Dr. Peretz and her fellow researchers carried out a validity test with Maccabi patients at the Tel Aviv Sourasky Medical Center's Movement Disorder Clinic. The algorithm managed to accurately identify 95 percent of the patients, she says.

A warning for public health professionals

Dr. Peretz points to misdiagnoses as one of the causes of poor information on Parkinson's. Not only is the prevalence rate of Parkinson's higher than previously thought, but the rate is growing by six percent yearly. There are on average 33 new cases for every 100,000 people per year. This spells trouble for governmental public health agencies, which will shoulder a heavier burden than they expected in the coming years. "It's a disease that costs a lot, the expectation of life is growing, and we have to prepare," warns Dr. Peretz. "Public health institutions have a responsibility to be aware that these needs will arise."

However, these results also bring good news for those who research the causes of the disease. With more accurate statistics, explains Dr. Peretz, other researchers can explore various determinates of the disease and possible risk factors, such as those related to environmental exposure, occupation and lifestyle.

This work was partly supported by the Environment and Health Fund, Jerusalem, Israel.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by American Friends of Tel Aviv University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

American Friends of Tel Aviv University. "Getting an accurate read on Parkinson's." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 29 June 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/06/110629123216.htm>.
American Friends of Tel Aviv University. (2011, June 29). Getting an accurate read on Parkinson's. ScienceDaily. Retrieved December 20, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/06/110629123216.htm
American Friends of Tel Aviv University. "Getting an accurate read on Parkinson's." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/06/110629123216.htm (accessed December 20, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Health & Medicine News

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

The Best Tips to Curb Holiday Carbs

The Best Tips to Curb Holiday Carbs

Buzz60 (Dec. 19, 2014) It's hard to resist those delicious but fattening carbs we all crave during the winter months, but there are some ways to stay satisfied without consuming the extra calories. Vanessa Freeman (@VanessaFreeTV) has the details. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
Sierra Leone Bikers Spread the Message to Fight Ebola

Sierra Leone Bikers Spread the Message to Fight Ebola

AFP (Dec. 19, 2014) More than 100 motorcyclists hit the road to spread awareness messages about Ebola. Nearly 7,000 people have now died from the virus, almost all of them in west Africa, according to the World Health Organization. Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Researchers Test Colombian Village With High Alzheimer's Rates

Researchers Test Colombian Village With High Alzheimer's Rates

AFP (Dec. 19, 2014) In Yarumal, a village in N. Colombia, Alzheimer's has ravaged a disproportionately large number of families. A genetic "curse" that may pave the way for research on how to treat the disease that claims a new victim every four seconds. Duration: 02:42 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Double-Amputee Becomes First To Move Two Prosthetic Arms With His Mind

Double-Amputee Becomes First To Move Two Prosthetic Arms With His Mind

Buzz60 (Dec. 19, 2014) A double-amputee makes history by becoming the first person to wear and operate two prosthetic arms using only his mind. Jen Markham has the story. Video provided by Buzz60
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:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

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