Worldwide Parkinson's cases will double in next 25 years

January 29, 2007

The number of individuals with Parkinson’s disease in 15 of the world’s largest nations will double over the next generation, according to a study published in the January 30 issue of the journal Neurology. The study highlights the significant challenge facing countries with rapidly growing economies, particularly in Asia, many of which are ill prepared to meet this impending public health threat.

In recent years, a great deal of resources and energy have been focused on confronting infectious diseases such as HIV, malaria, and tuberculosis. This is highlighted by high-profile private investments in these areas by organizations such as the Gates Foundation. However, while infectious diseases have attracted the greatest attention from international donors, it is non-communicable chronic diseases, such as Parkinson’s, that represent a far greater burden in terms of economic and social cost to developing nations.

University of Rochester neurologist Ray Dorsey, M.D., and a team of researchers examined the projected population growth in the five largest countries in Western Europe (France, Spain, Germany, the United Kingdom, and Italy) and the 10 most populous nations worldwide (China, India, Indonesia, the United States, Brazil, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nigeria, Japan, and Russia). They then projected the prevalence of the disease by age group in each country. Their research estimates that the number of individuals with Parkinson’s disease in these 15 countries will grow from 4.1 to 8.7 million by the year 2030. While the number of individuals with the disease will nearly double in the United States to 610,000, the greatest growth will occur in developing countries in Asia. By 2030, an estimated 5 million people in China will have the disease.

"The bulk of the growth in Parkinson’s disease in the next 25 years will not be in the United States and Europe but in other places, namely China, where Parkinson’s may not be viewed as a major public health problem," said Dorsey. "Moreover, this growth will occur in societies where there is very limited infrastructure in place to diagnose individuals, much less address their medical needs or the societal impact."

Parkinson’s disease is a degenerative disorder of the central nervous system that impairs motor skills and walking. Despite the fact that the disease is treatable with a combination of medications, therapy and exercise, many individuals in the developing world do not receive appropriate care and may not even be aware of their diagnosis. Dorsey and his colleagues noted that in door-to-door surveys in Bolivia, for example, none of the individuals who were found to have Parkinson’s disease had ever seen a physician for their problem.

The growth in chronic diseases such as Parkinson’s is one of the unfortunate byproducts of development. Economic growth and the corresponding improvements in health care and education are increasing the life expectancy of individuals in the developing world. In terms of the rise in chronic diseases, the key factor is not overall population growth but rather the number of people over age 65 and thus at risk of developing Parkinson’s and other chronic conditions. Furthermore, as income grows, so too does health care spending which, in turn, increases the duration of illness and the overall number of people with a particular disease.

Without the proper systems of medical treatment and social support, chronic diseases can cause significant economic displacement in the form of lost productivity. According to the World Health Organization, China, India, and Russia could forego between $200 billion and $550 billion in national income over the next 10 years as a result of only three chronic diseases: heart disease, stroke and diabetes. Furthermore, 60 percent of deaths worldwide are the result of chronic disease, more than double all infectious diseases, maternal and infant conditions, and nutritional deficiencies combined.

"Understanding and predicting the burden of disease is critical to guiding future health, social and economic policy," said Dorsey. "The challenge for these developing countries that currently don’t have the infrastructure in place to care for the small burden they have now is how they will develop this capacity over time recognizing that the costs will grow."

Source: University of Rochester

Explore further: Medical cannabis significantly safer for elderly with chronic pain than opioids: study

Related Stories

Medical cannabis significantly safer for elderly with chronic pain than opioids: study

February 13, 2018
Medical cannabis therapy can significantly reduce chronic pain in patients age 65 and older without adverse effects, according to researchers at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (BGU) and the Cannabis Clinical Research ...

Simple blood test could reveal epilepsy risk

February 12, 2018
A finger-prick blood test to diagnose epilepsy could be available within five years, according to scientists who are using tell-tale molecules called biomarkers to overcome current diagnostic problems and guide treatment.

A new therapeutic avenue for Parkinson's disease

January 23, 2018
Systemic clearing of senescent astrocytes prevents Parkinson's neuropathology and associated symptoms in a mouse model of sporadic disease, the type implicated in 95% of human cases. Publishing in Cell Reports, researchers ...

New options for Parkinson's patients

February 5, 2018
Parkinson's disease is a degenerative neurologic condition that affects more than one million people in the United States and 10 million people worldwide. Parkinson's attacks the nerves in the brain, causing tremors, rigid ...

Identifying the dangers of chronic stress on multiple sclerosis

February 6, 2018
New research reveals how chronic stress and tiny brain inflammations cause fatal gut failure in a multiple sclerosis mouse model.

Prediction of psychotic onset with AI language analysis

January 24, 2018
Psychiatrists characterize schizophrenia, a mental condition with devastating effects on those who suffer it, by a set of intuitively understandable concepts including "poverty of speech" and "flight of ideas." These concepts, ...

Recommended for you

Scientists produce human intestinal lining that re-creates living tissue inside organ-chip

February 16, 2018
Investigators have demonstrated how cells of a human intestinal lining created outside an individual's body mirror living tissue when placed inside microengineered Intestine-Chips, opening the door to personalized testing ...

Data wave hits health care

February 16, 2018
Technology used by Facebook, Google and Amazon to turn spoken language into text, recognize faces and target advertising could help doctors fight one of the deadliest infections in American hospitals.

Researcher explains how statistics, neuroscience improve anesthesiology

February 16, 2018
It's intuitive that anesthesia operates in the brain, but the standard protocol among anesthesiologists when monitoring and dosing patients during surgery is to rely on indirect signs of arousal like movement, and changes ...

Team reports progress in pursuit of sickle cell cure

February 16, 2018
Scientists have successfully used gene editing to repair 20 to 40 percent of stem and progenitor cells taken from the peripheral blood of patients with sickle cell disease, according to Rice University bioengineer Gang Bao.

Appetite-controlling molecule could prevent 'rebound' weight gain after dieting

February 15, 2018
Scientists have revealed how mice control their appetite when under stress such as cold temperatures and starvation, according to a new study by Monash University and St Vincent's Institute in Melbourne. The results shed ...

First study of radiation exposure in human gut Organ Chip device offers hope for better radioprotective drugs

February 14, 2018
Chernobyl. Three Mile Island. Fukushima. Accidents at nuclear power plants can potentially cause massive destruction and expose workers and civilians to dangerous levels of radiation that lead to cancerous genetic mutations ...

1 comment

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

Rohitasch
not rated yet Jul 07, 2008
In India, Parkinson's and Alzheimer's are not considered diseases at all. The stereotype senior citizen has both: When you get old, you get a little shaky and forgetful!:-D

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.