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May 17, 2021

Bad Air and Parkinson Disease—The Fog May Be Lifting

Author Affiliations
  • 1Center for Health + Technology, Department of Neurology, University of Rochester Medical Center, Rochester, New York
  • 2Norman Fixel Institute for Neurological Diseases, Department of Neurology, University of Florida, Gainesville
  • 3Associate Editor, JAMA Neurology
  • 4Weill Institute for Neurosciences, Department of Neurology, University of California, San Francisco
JAMA Neurol. Published online May 17, 2021. doi:10.1001/jamaneurol.2021.0863

At the same time James Parkinson was describing 6 individuals in London, England, with a novel shuffling disease, British meteorologist Luke Howard was detailing great fogs clouding the air. While both Parkinson disease and air pollution predate the early 19th century, their prevalence have risen together (Figure1). World regions with the most air pollution (eg, Europe and North America) have generally had the highest rates of Parkinson disease. Those with less pollution (eg, Africa) have had lower rates. Countries undergoing rapid industrialization with poor air quality (eg, China and India) have rising rates of Parkinson disease.2,3 These data are not hard evidence but have led many researchers to investigate a potential link.

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