Study: Parkinson’s Disease More Prevalent in U.S. Than Estimated

A new study says that the number of people who have Parkinson’s disease (PD) in the United States is far higher than previously estimated.

The study, published in npj Parkinson’s Disease, is entitled, “Incidence of Parkinson disease in North America.” Researchers said the true incidence of Parkinson’s is 50 percent higher than previous estimates.

The study added that incidence of Parkinson’s “increased with age and was higher among males.”

Researchers said the prevalence of Parkinson’s for United States residents age 45 and older was 572 out of 100,000 people. “We also found that PD burden in the population at ages 65 and above was higher than typically reported.”

They found higher-than-average clusters of people with Parkinson’s “at the juxtaposition of the Midwestern and Southern regions of the United States,” as well as in southern California, southeastern Texas, central Pennsylvania, and Florida. Researchers found lower incidences in the Mountain West, western Midwest, and far Northwest regions.

“Population-level estimates of PD burden are crucial for health care and health policy, for advocating for appropriate research funding and insurance coverage for treatment, and for minimizing drug shortages,” the study said. “PD incidence estimates may be influenced by multiple factors, including population age, geographical location, the prevalences of genetic and environmental risk and protective markers, and case ascertainment and diagnosis methods.”

Researchers studied “multinational data from current and past epidemiology projects” in determining Parkinson’s prevalence. “Improved estimates of disease incidence and mortality are necessary for understanding disease risk, planning healthcare capacity, delivery, anticipating and addressing care disparities, and identifying unwarranted variations in care delivery,” they said.


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Laurie Watanabe is the editor of Mobility Management. She can be reached at

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