Hip Fractures and Falls Increase Years Before Parkinson’s disease Diagnosed

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Helena Nyström MD, PhD Candidate Department of Community Medicine and Rehabilitation Umeå University Umeå, Sweden

Helena Nyström

Helena Nyström MD, PhD Candidate
Department of Community Medicine and Rehabilitation
Umeå University
Umeå, Sweden

Medical Research: What is the background for this study?

Response: Parkinson’s disease (PD) has an insidious onset and the prodromal phase, preceding the onset of the characteristic PD symptoms, may last for decades. Most prodromal signs previously reported are of non-motor type, such as sleep and mood disorders. However, recent studies have reported balance problems and an increased risk of accidental injuries in the last 3-5 years before diagnosis of Parkinson’s disease , and in a previous study we found a lower muscle strength at military conscription in men who were diagnosed with  Parkinson’s disease three decades later. In this study, we aimed to investigate if such subtle strength deficits may translate into an increased risk of fall-related injuries.

Medical Research: What are the main findings?

Response: The median study time was 20 years before the diagnosis of  Parkinson’s disease , and during this time more individuals with PD (18%) than controls (11.5%) had at least one fall-related injury. The risk was most increased in the last few years before the diagnosis of  Parkinson’s disease , but a difference between the groups appeared already a decade before the PD diagnosis. The risk of hip fracture was increased during the entire study time of 26 years before the diagnosis of Parkinson’s disease .

Medical Research: What should clinicians and patients take away from your report?

Response: The high risk of injurious falls already before the diagnosis of Parkinson’s disease indicates a need to focus on fall prevention also in early stages of PD.

Medical Research: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?

Response: Our findings support the hypothesis of a very long prodromal phase of Parkinson’s disease . Thus, there is a need to include young populations in research aiming to identify causal risk factors for PD. 

Medical Research: Is there anything else you would like to add?

Response: It should be noted that the overall risk for  Parkinson’s disease was very low, also for those with previous injurious falls.


Risk of Injurious Fall and Hip Fracture up to 26 y before the Diagnosis of Parkinson Disease: Nested Case–Control Studies in a Nationwide Cohort

Helena Nyström, Anna Nordström, Peter Nordström
Published: February 2, 2016

DOI: 10.1371/journal.pmed.1001954

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Helena Nyström MD, PhD Candidate (2016). Hip Fractures and Falls Increased Years Before Parkinson’s disease Diagnosed 

Last Updated on February 8, 2016 by Marie Benz MD FAAD