Parkinson’s disease cases are rising among men and researchers speculate it could be associated with declining smoking rates. James Beck, expert who reviewed the findings, explained, “I believe this will be the first of several reports in the United States to demonstrate what the Parkinson’s Disease Foundation has come to realize — that the number of people living with Parkinson’s is dramatically undercounted.”
Researchers from the Mayo Clinic tracked data from residents living in Olmstead County, Minnesota. The findings uncovered that rates of Parkinson’s disease nearly doubled for men between 1996 and 2005 and the biggest jumps were seen in men over the age of 70. Similar results were not seen for women.
Prior research suggested that smoking may lower the risk of Parkinson’s disease and so the decline of smoking among American men may shed some light as a possible explanation for the spike in cases. On the other hand this theory has yet to be proven and so it cannot be used for sure.
Furthermore, Minnesota is quite diverse and so it would be necessary to track other areas in the U.S. to see if the trend remains the same.
Dr. Andrew Feigin is a neurologist and Parkinson’s expert at Northwell Health’s Neuroscience Institute in Manhasset, added, “[Studies] have shown that cigarette smoking is associated with a reduced risk of Parkinson’s disease, so a decline in smoking might be expected to result in an increase in [the disease].” He, too, agreed additional research is required to further investigate the possible link between smoking and Parkinson’s disease.
About 1 million people in the United States suffer from Parkinson’s disease. Another 50,000 to 60,000 are diagnosed with the neurodegenerative disorder each year, according to the National Parkinson Foundation. Symptoms of the disease include shaking, tremor, slowness of movement, stiffness and trouble with balance.
Also, read Bel Marra Health’s article: Parkinson’s disease symptoms, falls reduced by common dementia drug and simple home remedies.