Parkinson's disease in Africa: A systematic review of epidemiologic and genetic studies



Parkinson's disease (PD) occurs worldwide, but little is known about PD in Africa. We systematically reviewed publications on PD in Africa, with emphasis on epidemiologic and genetic studies. Articles published between 1944 and December 2004 were identified using several strategies. The studies emanated from 13 African countries (Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Ethiopia, Nigeria, Senegal, Ghana, Togo, Libya, Tunisia, Algeria, Zimbabwe, and South Africa). The publications fell into four categories: clinical series (n = 17), prevalence studies (n = 7), incidence studies (n = 1), and genetic studies (n = 3). The clinical series documented the occurrence of PD in Africa and described its clinical characteristics. The prevalence studies suggested some intracontinental geographic variation in PD prevalence. Overall, the prevalence figures and the incidence rates of PD in Africa appeared lower than those reported for European and North American populations. Few genetic studies of PD have been reported from Africa, and none in blacks. There are no case–control or cohort studies of PD reported from Africa. This review provides a summary of PD research in Africa over the past 60 years and highlights the information gaps and potential areas for future research. © 2006 Movement Disorder Society