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Background:

Parkinsonism is associated with prodromal peptic ulceration. Dopamine antagonists provoke experimental ulcer, dopaminergic agents protect, and might inhibit growth of Helicobacter pylori.

Objective:

To describe the relationship between H. pylori serology and parkinsonism.

Methods:

Serum H. pylori anti-urease-IgG antibody was measured in 105 people with (idiopathic) parkinsonism, 210 without, from same locality. None had received specific eradication therapy.

Results:

Controls showed a birth-cohort effect: antibody titre rose from 30 to 90 years (P < 0.001). Parkinsonism obliterated this (disease status · age interaction, P < 0.05), the differential age trend not being attributable to social class. Those with diagnosed parkinsonism were more likely to be seropositive (odds ratio 2.04 (95% CI: 1.04, 4.22) P < 0.04) before 72.5 years. Overall, titre fell (P=0.01) by 5 (1, 9)% per unit increase in a global, 30-point rating (median 14 (interquartile range 10.5, 17)) of disease severity. No individual category of anti-parkinsonian medication (92% taking) had a differential lowering effect.

Conclusions:

Higher prevalence of seropositivity in parkinsonism, before 8th decade, may be due to host susceptibility/reaction, or, conversely, infection with particular H. pylori strain(s) lowering dopaminergic status. Absence of a birth cohort effect in parkinsonism, despite similar social class representation, may be consequent on eradication, spontaneous (gastric atrophy) or by anti-parkinsonian medication.