- Parkinson’s disease is the second most common neurodegenerative disease in
the elderly, surpassed only by Alzheimer’s disease. It is not uncommon for
younger persons, in their 30s or 40s, to develop the disease. It is estimated that
over 1.5 million people in the United States suffer from Parkinson’s disease, with
70,000 newly diagnosed cases per year.
- Little is known about very basic aspects of Parkinson’s disease. Who gets it?
What are the causes? Is the frequency of the disease higher in certain
communities, and is it changing over time? Are people developing symptoms at
younger ages now than in the past?
- A registry is the most accurate way to determine the number of people with
Parkinson’s disease and to identify trends in Parkinson’s disease rates in the
population. For example, a registry can determine whether the number of
people with Parkinson’s disease, or with young onset Parkinson’s disease, is
- A registry will provide a systematic way to link Parkinson’s disease to chemical
toxins and other environmental risk factors, by linking with environmental health
databases in the state. Thus a registry could make a dramatic contribution to
finding the causes of Parkinson’s disease.
- Identification of factors causing Parkinson’s disease is the first step toward
- The large population of 35-million in California means that the registry could
enroll several thousand patients each year, and the state's diversity means it will
span a range of socio-economic groups and ethnicities, as well as rural and
- State health officials in California have substantial experience in tracking health
and environmental hazards.