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Mayo Clinic study reveals new information about incidence of Parkinsonism

ROCHESTER, MINN. - A new study by Mayo Clinic researchers, published in the journal Neurology, shows that parkinsonism is three times more common than what was previously thought. In addition, the Mayo Clinic study shows that men develop parkinsonism more frequently than women.

"Parkinsonism is not a disease itself, rather it describes a group of diseases that present with similar symptoms," says James H. Bower, M.D., a Mayo Clinic neurologist and the study?s principal investigator.

"This study revealed several new findings that will help us understand the causes of the illness and the effect it will have on our society," says Dr. Bower.

In the study, Dr. Bower and his Mayo Clinic associates found that the lifetime risk of developing parkinsonism is actually 7.5 percent, three times higher than what was previously thought. "This finding highlights the impact parkinsonism will have on our society as the number of elderly increases and we try to find resources to care for these people," says Dr. Bower.

"It?s always been known that Parkinson?s disease is the most common cause of parkinsonism, but we found that Parkinson?s disease itself accounts for only 42 percent of all the cases. Other diseases and causes for parkinsonism are much more common than was previously believed," says Dr. Bower.

In every age group, men are twice as likely to develop parkinsonism as women. "This may be a hint that hormonal factors protect women from the illness," says Dr. Bower. "Alternatively, maybe occupational exposures put men at increased risk."


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Contact: Jane Jacobs
newsbureau@mayo.edu
507-284-2511
Mayo Clinic
1-Jun-1999


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