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The frequency and validity of self-reported diagnosis of Parkinson's Disease in the UK elderly: MRC CFAS cohort

Author(s): Foltynie Thomas | Matthews Fiona | Ishihara Lianna | Brayne Carol

Journal: BMC Neurology
ISSN 1471-2377

Volume: 6;
Issue: 1;
Start page: 29;
Date: 2006;
Original page

Abstract Background Estimates of the incidence and prevalence of chronic diseases can be made using established cohort studies but these estimates may have lower reliability if based purely on self-reported diagnosis. Methods The MRC Cognitive Function & Ageing Study (MRC CFAS) has collected longitudinal data from a population-based random sample of 13004 individuals over the age of 65 years from 5 centres within the UK. Participants were asked at baseline and after a two-year follow-up whether they had received a diagnosis of Parkinson's disease. Our aim was to make estimates of the incidence and prevalence of PD using self-reporting, and then investigate the validity of self-reported diagnosis using other data sources where available, namely death certification and neuropathological examination. Results The self-reported prevalence of Parkinson's disease (PD) amongst these individuals increases with age from 0.7% (95%CI 0.5–0.9) for 65–75, 1.4% (95%CI 1.0–1.7) for 75–85, and 1.6% (95%CI 1.0–2.3) for 85+ age groups respectively. The overall incidence of self reported PD in this cohort was 200/100,000 per year (95%CI 144–278). Only 40% of the deceased individuals reporting prevalent PD and 35% of those reporting incident PD had diagnoses of PD recorded on their death certificates. Neuropathological examination of individuals reporting PD also showed typical PD changes in only 40%, with the remainder showing basal ganglia pathologies causing parkinsonism rather than true PD pathology. Conclusion Self-reporting of PD status may be used as a screening tool to identify patients for epidemiological study, but inevitably identifies a heterogeneous group of movement disorders patients. Within this group, age, male sex, a family history of PD and reduced cigarette smoking appear to act as independent risk factors for self-reported PD.
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