AIMS AND OBJECTIVES: We have previously reported the age-adjusted prevalence of idiopathic Parkinson's disease (PD) in North Tyneside, an urban area of North-East England, as 139 cases (95% CI 116 to 162) per 100,000. The aim of this study was to report the prevalence of idiopathic PD in a rural area of North-East England.
METHODS: The same case-finding methodology as that employed in North Tyneside was used to identify cases of PD in an area of North Northumberland with a population of 59,613 at the 2001 UK census. All GPs in the study area were asked to provide details of patients registered with their service that may have PD or were on PD medication. Furthermore, all patients registered with the local PD service or under the care of a consultant neurologist or other relevant secondary care specialist were considered for inclusion. Inclusion in the study required fulfillment of the UK Brain Bank criteria.
RESULTS: One-hundred-and-six cases were identified (50 women and 56 men), giving crude and age-adjusted prevalence estimates of 178 cases (95% CI 144 to 212) and 142 cases (95% CI 118 to 165) per 100,000 respectively. The age-adjusted prevalence rate within our rural study area was remarkably similar to that seen in other urban UK studies. Only 71 cases (67.0%) were identified through GP records.
CONCLUSIONS: The prevalence of PD rural and urban areas of North-East England is remarkably similar.