MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
James Beck, Ph.D., Chief Scientific Officer
Adjunct Associate Professor
Department of Neuroscience and Physiology
New York University Langone School of Medicine
MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?
Response: The most frequently cited study for prevalence in the US was based on a door-to-door survey conducted in 1978 in a rural county in Mississippi. Only 26 cases of Parkinson’s disease (PD) were identified. That has been extrapolated to our current US population of 330,000,000 people. To give a sense of how long ago that was, Microsoft was considered a startup company. Therefore, to provide an improved estimate of who has Parkinson’s disease, the Parkinson’s Foundation lead the Parkinson’s Prevalence study to do just that, using datasets that were from more geographically and ethnically diverse communities that can better reflect the US population as a whole.
The main finding is that we know now that there are nearly 1,000,000 people living with PD – and that number is expected to increase dramatically as our population ages. (The biggest risk factor for Parkinson’s disease is age.)
MedicalResearch.com: What should readers take away from your report?
Response: The key take away is that there are nearly 1 million people living with Parkinson’s disease. This underscores the urgency of what we do as a Foundation to insure people are living better lives in spite of their disease through our efforts to improve care and search for a cure. They should also know that this is the *minimum* estimate for who has .Parkinson’s disease. That is, there are likely more people with disease than we report.
MedicalResearch.com: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this work?
Response: This is the first step in understanding who has Parkinson’s disease. The next is to understand how often are people diagnosed with PD – this is called incidence – and also to understand the mortality associated with PD. We are currently undertaking that research with our colleagues and expect results late next year.
C. Marras, J. C. Beck, J. H. Bower, E. Roberts, B Ritz, G. W. Ross, R. D. Abbott, R. Savica, S. K. Van Den Eeden, A. W. Willis & CM Tanner on behalf of the Parkinson’s Foundation P4 Group
npj Parkinson’s Disease volume 4, Article number: 21 (2018 Published: 10 July 2018
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