MEDSCAPE – Medicare beneficiaries living in the Mississippi–Ohio River valley had a higher risk of developing Parkinson’s disease, compared with other regions of the United States, according to findings from a study that was released ahead of its scheduled presentation at the annual meeting of the American Academy of Neurology.
[Mississippi–Ohio River valley states: Pennsylvania, Ohio, West Virginia, Kentucky, Indiana, Illinois, Missouri, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa, Illinois, Missouri, Kentucky, Tennessee, Arkansas, Mississippi, and Louisiana.]
The association was attributed to concentrations of particulate matter (PM) 2.5 in the Mississippi–Ohio River valley, which was on average higher than in other areas, but that didn’t entirely explain the increase in Parkinson’s disease in that region, Brittany Krzyzanowski, PhD, said in an interview.
Krzyzanowski is a postdoctoral research fellow in the neuroepidemiology research program of the department of neurology at Barrow Neurological Institute, Dignity Health St. Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center, Phoenix,
“This study revealed Parkinson’s disease hot spots in the Mississippi–Ohio River valley, a region that has some of the highest levels of air pollution in the nation,” she said, “but we also still find a relationship between air pollution and Parkinson’s risk in the regions in the western half of the United States where Parkinson’s disease and air pollution levels are relatively low.”
Dr. Krzyzanowski and colleagues evaluated 22,546,965 Medicare beneficiaries in 2009, using a multimethod approach that included geospatial analytical techniques to categorize their exposure to PM2.5 based on age, sex, race, smoking status, and health care usage.
The researchers also performed individual-level case-control analysis to assess PM2.5 results at the county level.
The Medicare beneficiaries were grouped according to average exposure, with the lowest group having an average annual exposure of 5 mcg/m3 and the group with the highest exposure having an average annual exposure of 19 mcg/m3.
In total, researchers identified 83,674 Medicare beneficiaries with incident Parkinson’s disease, with 434 new cases per 100,000 people in the highest exposure group, compared with 359 new cases per 100,000 people in the lowest-exposure group … read more.