Study Finds No Link Between Head Injuries and Parkinson’s Disease Interview with:
Line Kenborg, MSc, PhD

Survivorship Unit
Danish Cancer Society Research Center

Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: The hypothesis that head injuries increase the risk for Parkinson disease has been examined in many studies during the past decades, but the findings have been highly inconsistent. We have previously examined the hypothesis in a study based on information on head injuries and Parkinson disease from the Danish National Hospital Registry. In this study, we found a positive association between a hospital contact for a head injury in middle or late adulthood and a diagnosis of Parkinson disease. The reported association, however, was almost entirely due to injuries that occurred during the months preceding the first hospital contact for Parkinson disease. Because we used information from registries, we lacked detailed diagnostic information to distinguish Parkinson disease from other types of parkinsonism, and we had no information on milder head injuries and head injuries in early life. So we wanted to study whether head injuries throughout life increased the risk for Parkinson disease in the largest interview-based case-control study to date including patients with a verified diagnosis of Parkinson disease. The main finding of our study is that we do not find any association between head injuries and Parkinson disease.

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

Response: Our study is observational so we cannot say anything about causality. Based on our results, however, it seems that one or several mild or severe head injuries do not increase the risk for Parkinson disease.

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

Response: Future studies need to examine head injuries in combination with genetics or environmental risk factors for Parkinson disease such as pesticides, which we did not include in our study. Further, the studies need to include a proper time window between head injuries and the diagnosis of Parkinson disease to exclude head injuries that might be due to the undiagnosed movement disorder.


Head injury and risk for Parkinson disease

Results from a Danish case-control study

Kenborg L1, Rugbjerg K2, Lee PC2, Ravnskjær L2, Christensen J2, Ritz B2, Lassen CF2.

Neurology. 2015 Feb 13. pii: 10.1212/WNL.0000000000001362. [Epub ahead of print]

[wysija_form id=”1″] Interview with:, & Line Kenborg, MSc, PhD (2015). Study Finds No Link Between Head Injuries and Parkinson’s Disease

Last Updated on February 20, 2015 by Marie Benz MD FAAD