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Parkinson's Not Linked to Diabetes, Hypertension

Researchers did find some relationship between disease risk and high cholesterol in women

MONDAY, Oct. 22 (HealthDay News) -- Researchers investigating the possibility that vascular factors may influence the risk of Parkinson's disease found no significant association between hypertension or diabetes and Parkinson's. The study findings are published in the Oct. 23 issue of Neurology.

Kelly Claire Simon, of Harvard School of Public Health in Boston, and colleagues analyzed prospective data from the Nurses' Health Study and the Health Professionals Follow-Up Study, which included a combined 171,879 subjects. Participants answered regular questionnaires about potential risk factors and disease diagnoses. Mean follow-up was 22.9 years for women and 12.6 years for men.

After adjustment for age and smoking in pack-years, the investigators didn't find a significant relationship between self-reported hypertension or diabetes and the risk of Parkinson's disease. However, they did note a modest decline in risk with higher levels of cholesterol. Each 50-mg/dL rise in total cholesterol was associated with an 18 percent lower risk of Parkinson's disease in women and a statistically non-significant drop of 10 percent in men.

The cholesterol findings "should be interpreted with caution because the results were only marginally significant and could have occurred by chance. However, this finding is consistent with the report of lower levels of low-density lipoprotein cholesterol among patients with Parkinson's disease than controls and with the results of a recent prospective study of serum cholesterol levels and risk of Parkinson's disease in which a protective effect of increasing cholesterol was observed in women but not in men," the authors write.

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