Experts address the rapidly rising number of deaths from Parkinson's disease

September 10, 2018, IOS Press
Immunohistochemistry for alpha-synuclein showing positive staining (brown) of an intraneural Lewy-body in the Substantia nigra in Parkinson's disease. Credit: Wikipedia

Deaths associated with Parkinson's disease and related disorders increased substantially between 2001 and 2014. Parkinson's disease was in fact the most common cause of death associated with a neurological condition, according to a report by Public Health England. International experts reporting in the Journal of Parkinson's Disease evaluate these findings and address important implications for future healthcare needs.

The burden caused by Parkinson's has increased alarmingly in recent years, taking the proportions of a true Parkinson "pandemic." Over six and a half million individuals aged 20 years and over died in England between 2001 and 2014 according to the recent report by Public Health England. Of these, over 90,000 deaths were associated with a . Parkinson's disease was the most common individual neurological condition recorded on the certificates as the underlying cause of death. Parkinson's disease was the most common cause of death overall and accounted for 31 percent of deaths associated with a neurological condition as the underlying cause, the contributory cause, or both.

Reviewing the report, a team of international experts led by Professor Bastiaan R. Bloem, MD, Ph.D.; Radboud University Medical Center, Nijmegen, The Netherlands explore the deeper relevance of the numbers and trends. "These statistics are important and should be used to inform and guide those who make long-term decisions about the practicalities of how Parkinson patients are managed by the various healthcare systems involved, working together to improve quality of care and quality of life," comments Prof. Bloem.

"There are several possible explanations for the increase in mortality associated with Parkinson's disease. It is certainly in keeping with other recent reports that point to a striking rise in the incidence of new patients with Parkinson's disease in the general population."

The authors also highlight compelling data on the place of death, revealing that eight out of ten Parkinson patients die in hospitals or care homes. First author Sirwan Darweesh, MD, MSc, Radboud University Medical Center, Nijmegen, The Netherlands, and Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, Boston, MA, USA, emphasizes the tremendous importance of this finding: "Being able to die at home is a core wish of most patients with Parkinson's disease; our current healthcare system is sometimes not able unable to meet this essential wish of patients and their families, particularly when medical issues requiring hospitalization occur."

The authors propose a number of solutions to improve the management of Parkinson patients in the community and raise standards of care in care homes and hospitals:

  • A network of specifically trained healthcare professionals with specific expertise in Parkinson management
  • A personalized, collaborative plan of care, not only for, but also with patients and their families
  • Personal case managers for Parkinson patients
  • Dedicated Parkinson nursing homes

"Parkinson's disease is a matter of serious concern for our future generations," comments Prof. Bloem. "Future efforts should be focused on providing resources for vulnerable elderly Parkinson , avoiding unplanned hospital admissions and out-of-home deaths as much as possible."

The Public Health England report is "Deaths associated with neurological in England 2001 to 2014," issued by the National Neurology Intelligence Network, National End of Life Care Intelligence Network. It investigates the numbers and rates of deaths associated with neurological conditions and their recent trends; the demographic characteristics of people dying with neurological conditions; the underlying cause of death and association with the broad disease groups; and place of death.

Explore further: Parkinson's disease: A looming pandemic

More information: Sirwan K.L. Darweesh et al. Parkinson Matters, Journal of Parkinson's Disease (2018). DOI: 10.3233/JPD-181374

Related Stories

Parkinson's disease: A looming pandemic

November 13, 2017
New research shows that the number of people with Parkinson's disease will soon grow to pandemic proportions. In a commentary appearing today in the journal JAMA Neurology, University of Rochester Medical Center neurologist ...

Can work stress contribute to Parkinson's disease risk?

August 22, 2018
Results from a Movement Disorders study suggest that occupational stress is associated with Parkinson's Disease risk, such that having a high-demand occupation is a risk factor and low control is protective.

Biomarkers link fatigue in cancer, Parkinson's

August 9, 2018
Biological markers responsible for extreme exhaustion in patients with cancer have now been linked to fatigue in those with Parkinson's disease, according to new research from Rice University.

Link between IBD and Parkinson's might allow doctors to slow down condition

May 21, 2018
Doctors may be able to modify or slow down the progress of the neurological condition Parkinson's disease in the future by spotting signs of it in patients with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), suggest a study published ...

Changes in diet may improve life expectancy in Parkinson's patients

November 24, 2017
New research from the University of Aberdeen shows that weight loss in people with Parkinson's disease leads to decreased life expectancy, increased risk of dementia and more dependency on care.

What is the scope of neurological diseases in the world today?

October 16, 2017
Globally, the burden of neurological disorders (Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease, stroke, epilepsy etc) has increased substantially over the past 25 years. This problem is the topic of a recent report by the Global ...

Recommended for you

The puzzle of a mutated gene lurking behind many Parkinson's cases

November 15, 2018
Genetic mutations affecting a single gene play an outsized role in Parkinson's disease. The mutations are generally responsible for the mass die-off of a set of dopamine-secreting, or dopaminergic, nerve cells in the brain ...

Researchers find inhibiting one protein destroys toxic clumps seen in Parkinson's disease

November 14, 2018
A defining feature of Parkinson's disease is the clumps of alpha-synuclein protein that accumulate in the brain's motor control area, destroying dopamine-producing neurons. Natural processes can't clear these clusters, known ...

Scalpel-free surgery enhances quality of life for Parkinson's patients, study finds

November 9, 2018
A high-tech form of brain surgery that replaces scalpels with sound waves improved quality of life for people with Parkinson's disease that has resisted other forms of treatment, a new study has found.

Singing may reduce stress, improve motor function for people with Parkinson's disease

November 7, 2018
Singing may provide benefits beyond improving respiratory and swallow control in people with Parkinson's disease, according to new data from Iowa State University researchers.

Scientists overturn odds to make Parkinson's discovery

November 7, 2018
Scientists at the University of Dundee have confirmed that a key cellular pathway that protects the brain from damage is disrupted in Parkinson's patients, raising the possibility of new treatments for the disease.

Road to cell death more clearly identified for Parkinson's disease

November 1, 2018
In experiments performed in mice, Johns Hopkins researchers report they have identified the cascade of cell death events leading to the physical and intellectual degeneration associated with Parkinson's disease.

0 comments

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.