Sex, Geographic Differences in the Incidence of Parkinson Disease: James Beck, PhD


The senior vice president and chief scientific officer of the Parkinson’s Foundation provided perspective on recently published findings showing a nearly doubling of Parkinson disease incidence that previously reported. [WATCH TIME: 4 minutes]

WATCH TIME: 4 minutes

"One of the interesting things, even though women are diagnosed at a lower rate, there’s still indication from other work in the community that women are perhaps, the underserved amongst those with Parkinson disease. Doctors are expecting to think men develop Parkinson [disease] vs women."

In December 2022, a Parkinson’s Foundation-backed study revealed that nearly 90,000 people are diagnosed with Parkinson disease (PD) in the US each year, a steep 50% increase from the previously estimated rate of 60,000 diagnoses annually. The analysis included 5 epidemiological cohorts in North America containing data on 6.7 million person-years of adults aged 45 and older, and 9.3 million person-years of adults aged 65 or older. All told, estimates of age-sex-adjusted incidence of PD ranged from 108 to 212 per 100,000 among persons aged 65 or older, and from 47 to 77 per 100,000 among persons aged 45 and older.

As the general population continues to age, the public health and economic burdens of age-associated neurodegenerative disorders like PD continue to increase with it. The study, which was also supported by The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research and Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences, identified age as the primary risk factor for PD. Investigators, which included James Beck, PhD, also found incidence estimates to be higher in males compared with females, with the sharpest rise occurring in those aged between 64 and 74 years old.

Other notable findings from the analysis showed differences in PD incidence based on geographical location, with a clustering of counties with higher incidence observed at the juxtaposition of the Midwestern and Southern regions of the United States. Following the publication, Beck, senior vice president and chief scientific officer of the Parkinson’s Foundation, provided perspective on the findings, including some of the rates based on sex and location. He discussed the reasons for why this may be, as well as the questions that still remain.

1. Willis AW, Roberts E, Beck JC, et al. Incidence of Parkinson disease in North America. Npj Parkinson’s Disease. 2022;8:170. doi:10.1038/s41531-022-00410-y.
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