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Men More Likely to Develop Parkinson's Disease than Women

Men are more likely to develop Parkinson's disease than women, suggests research in the Journal of Neurology Neurosurgery and Psychiatry.

A gender difference in the rates of Parkinson's disease has been suspected on the basis of death rates from the condition. However, death rates are not necessarily a true reflection of the figures: they don't indicate the numbers of new cases, and the cause of death is not always accurately certified.

But over the past several years, a number of population studies have been published in various different countries, which have included data on gender. Only those studies, which provided details on gender and included at least 50 cases of Parkinson's disease, were included in the analysis.

In all, seven studies, covering populations in the US, China, Poland, Italy, Spain and Finland, were included.

Once all the data had been analysed and adjusted for age, the results showed that men were 1.5 times more likely to develop Parkinson's disease than women.

The authors speculate that male gender itself could be a risk factor, or it may simply be a marker for other risk factors, such as greater exposure to toxic chemicals and higher rates of head injury, both of which are associated with the disease.

Other possible explanations lie in the potential protective effect of the female hormone oestrogen on the nervous system and a genetic susceptibility to Parkinson's disease linked to the X (male) chromosome.

Click here to view full paper:

Source Date: Mar 16 2004
Source Publication: British Medical Journal
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