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Keywords:

  • case−control studies;
  • Parkinson's disease;
  • reproductive factors

Background and purpose

Parkinson's disease is more common in men than women by a ratio of about 1.5:1 and yet there is no consensus to date as to whether female reproductive factors including hormone use affect Parkinson's disease risk. Our objective was to examine the relationship between Parkinson's disease and female reproductive factors in the largest population-based Parkinson's disease case−control study to date.

Methods

Seven hundred and forty-three female Parkinson's disease cases diagnosed between 1996 and 2009 were selected from the Danish National Hospital Register, diagnoses confirmed by medical record review, and the cases were matched by birth year to 765 female controls randomly selected from the Danish Civil Registration System. Covariate information was collected in computer-assisted telephone interviews covering an extensive array of topics including reproductive and lifestyle factors.

Results

After adjusting for smoking, caffeine and alcohol use, education, age, and family Parkinson's disease history, inverse associations between Parkinson's disease and early menarche (first period at ≤11 years), oral contraceptives, high parity (≥4 children) and bilateral oophorectomy were found; adjusted odds ratios and 95% confidence limits were respectively 0.68 (0.45–1.03) for early menarche, 0.87 (0.69–1.10) for oral contraceptives, 0.79 (0.59–1.06) for high parity and 0.65 (0.45–0.94) for bilateral oophorectomy. Little support for associations between Parkinson's disease and fertile life length, age at menopause or post-menopausal hormone treatment was found.

Conclusions

Reproductive factors related to women's early- to mid-reproductive lives appear to be predictive of subsequent Parkinson's disease risk whereas factors occurring later in life seem less important.