Black, Low-Income Patients More Disabled by Parkinson's
MONDAY, Dec. 13 (HealthDay News) -- Black patients and those
with lower levels of income and education have more severe
parkinsonism with greater levels of disability, a new study
Parkinsonism -- a condition marked by slow movements, tremor and
rigidity -- is common among older adults in the United States.
Parkinson's disease is the most common cause of parkinsonism.
This study by researchers at the University of Maryland,
Baltimore included 1,159 patients with parkinsonism. Of those
patients, 93.4 percent were white, 6.1 percent were black, 61.2
percent earned more than $50,000 a year, 62.7 percent had completed
college, and 79.2 percent had been diagnosed with Parkinson's
Black patients tended to have more severe parkinsonism and
greater levels of disability than white patients. Patients with
lower levels of income and education were also more likely to have
greater disease severity and disability.
The study also found that black patients were prescribed fewer
medications to treat parkinsonism at their first clinic visit than
white patients -- 61.9 percent vs. 77.6 percent.
Only 20.6 of black patients were prescribed newer dopaminergic
medications (drugs that replace the neurotransmitter dopamine),
compared with 41.1 percent of white patients. Antipsychotic drugs
were prescribed to 12.7 percent of black patients and 6.1 percent
of white patients. There was no disparity in medication treatment,
however, tied to income and education levels.
"Parkinsonism reduces quality of life and results in disability and premature mortality [death]. The results of this study suggest we need to better understand the cause of parkinsonism and to find remedies for disparate outcomes among patients with parkinsonian disease who are of different backgrounds and means," the researchers concluded.
The study appears online Dec. 13 and in the April 2011 print
issue of the
Archives of Neurology.
The U.S. National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke
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