Previous research has suggested that the Amish may experience a relatively high prevalence of Parkinson's disease (PD) and/or parkinsonian motor signs. Methods: In a large sample from the Amish community in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, age =18 years, we assessed the prevalence of self-reported PD diagnosis. For those without self-reported PD diagnosis, we assessed the frequency of PDrelated motor symptoms using a 9-item questionnaire that was designed by the PD Epidemiology Research Group. Lastly, we queried study participants for the presence of 2 nonmotor symptoms that have been commonly linked to PD: bowel movement frequency and daytime sleepiness. Results: Among 2,025 subjects who answered the PD questionnaire, 430 were older than 60 years. Of 430 participants =60 years, 5 (1.2%) reported a PD diagnosis. Of those without a PD diagnosis, 10.5% reported =1 and 1.2% = 4 motor symptoms for the 9-item PD screening questionnaire. Of the 3,789 subjects who answered the question about bowel movement frequency, 0.7% reported =3 bowel movements per week. Among 1,710 subjects who answered the question about daytime sleepiness, 8.1% of the participants reported always sleepy during the day. Discussion: These data neither support a markedly higher PD prevalence in the older Lancaster Amish nor do they show dramatically higher motor and/or selected nonmotor symptoms than the general population. Future studies that employ more rigorous procedures for case identification and PD-specific preclinical symptoms/tests are needed to determine the potential differences and similarities among different Amish populations and between Amish and non-Amish populations.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Clinical Neurology