• Parkinson's disease;
  • osteoporosis;
  • bone density;
  • accidental falls

Objectives: To examine the association between Parkinson's disease (PD) and bone mineral density (BMD) and risk of falls.

Design: Cross-sectional and prospective cohort study.

Setting: Six U.S. clinical centers.

Participants: Five thousand nine hundred ninety-five community-dwelling, ambulatory men aged 65 and older.

Measurements: History of physician-diagnosed PD was ascertained from participant self-report. BMD was measured at the hip and spine using dual energy x-ray absorptiometry (DEXA) and quantitative computed tomography (QCT). Incident falls were ascertained for 1 year using mailed queries.

Results: Fifty-two participants (0.9%) reported a history of PD. In multivariate models, PD was associated with significantly lower BMD at the spine (−4.9%, P=.04) and total hip (−5.3%, P=.007) using DEXA and at the spine (−6.7%, P=.05) and total hip (−8.2%, P=.03) using QCT. PD was associated with a nearly three times greater age-adjusted risk of multiple future falls (odds ratio (OR)=2.91, 95% confidence interval (CI)=1.55–5.46). Further adjustment for history of multiple falls in the year before baseline attenuated this risk, but it remained significant (OR=2.30, 95% CI=1.15–4.59).

Conclusion: In this cohort of older men, PD was associated with lower BMD at the hip and spine, measured using areal and volumetric BMD, as well as increased falls. Clinicians should consider screening older men with PD for osteoporosis.