Media portrayal:
Scientific interpretation:

Parkinson’s disease incidence increases over 30 years

Original article: Time trends in the incidence of Parkinson disease, JAMA Neurology: June 20, 2016

The takeaway

The incidence of Parkinson’s disease increased between 1976 and 2005, with the largest jump being in men 70 years of age and older. Men of all ages had a 24 percent higher risk of developing the disease for every 10 years while men older than 70 had a 35 percent chance for every 10 years.

Why is it important?

These findings reinforce the need for further investigations into potential environmental and lifestyle factors that may contribute to disease development.


“This study reinforces the fact that Parkinson’s is a highly significant public health problem and that better ways to diagnose and treat the disease are desperately needed.” Dr. Patrik Brundin



  • Novelty 80% 80%
  • Proximity 80% 80%
  • Deliverability 20% 20%
Other things to know

  • The study authors urge caution as the increase may be due in part to increased awareness of the disease and access to medical care.

The details

The study included 906 patients from Olmsted Country, Minnesota, with parkinsonism whose medical records were part of the Rochester Epidemiology Project. Researchers theorize that the increase may be partially due to changes in environmental factors in the past 70 years, such as pesticides and smoking; however, more research is needed to confirm this link.

Related work

Theses findings continue to support earlier research in this area, such as the Dorsey report which projected the number of people with Parkinson’s over the age of 50 will double in the most populous nations by 2030 (from between 4.1 and 4.6 million in 2005 to between 8.7 and 9.3 million by 2030).
Original article: Savica R, Grossardt BR, Bower JH, Ahlskog, Rocca WA. June 20, 2016. Time trends in the incidence of Parkinson disease. JAMA Neuro 73(8):981–989.

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