Prospective study of phobic anxiety and risk of Parkinson's disease

Authors

  • Marc G. Weisskopf PhD,

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Nutrition, Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, Massachusetts, USA
    • Harvard School of Public Health, Dept. of Nutrition, 665 Huntington Ave., Bldg. 2, Boston, MA 02115
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  • Honglei Chen PhD, MD,

    1. Department of Nutrition, Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, Massachusetts, USA
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  • Michael A. Schwarzschild PhD, MD,

    1. Department of Neurology, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, Massachusetts, USA
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  • Ichiro Kawachi PhD, MD,

    1. Department of Health and Social Behavior, Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, Massachusetts, USA
    2. Channing Laboratory, Department of Medicine, Brigham and Women's Hospital Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts, USA
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  • Alberto Ascherio DrPh, MD

    1. Department of Nutrition, Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, Massachusetts, USA
    2. Department of Epidemiology, Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, Massachusetts, USA
    3. Department of Health and Social Behavior, Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, Massachusetts, USA
    4. Channing Laboratory, Department of Medicine, Brigham and Women's Hospital Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts, USA
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Abstract

Anxiety disorders are common in Parkinson's disease (PD). However, the risk of PD among people with anxiety has not been examined in a prospective cohort study. We examined this relation prospectively within the Health Professionals Follow-Up Study, a cohort of US male health professionals. In 1988, anxiety was assessed using the Crown–Crisp phobic anxiety index in 35,815 men without PD, stroke, or cancer at baseline. There were 189 incident cases of PD during 12 years of follow-up. After adjusting for age, smoking, and caffeine intake, the relative risk of PD among men with the highest level of anxiety (Crown–Crisp index scores of 4 and above) was 1.5 (95% CI = 1.0–2.1; P-trend = 0.01) compared to men with the lowest level of anxiety. This positive association persisted after excluding cases of PD with onset in the first 2 years of follow-up. Use of anxiolytic medication was also associated with an elevated risk of PD (RR= 1.6; 95% CI = 0.9–3.1), but adjusting for this potential confounder did not materially affect the association between anxiety and risk of PD. Our results suggest that anxiety is a risk factor for PD. Whether this association is causal or the result of shared underlying biology remains a question. © 2003 Movement Disorder Society

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