Health Discoveries in Movement Disorders, Parkinsons etc

African-Americans suffer more severe parkinsonism

January 4, 2011
The slow movements and tremors that characterize parkinsonism - including Parkinson's disease, the most common form of the condition - are most severe in African-Americans with lower levels of income and education, a recent study found.

The research team from the University of Maryland found that among the 1,159 parkinsonism patients they studied, African-Americans suffered more disability and more severe symptoms than white patients.

Although there appeared to be no medical disparities related to income and education levels, the study showed that African-Americans were prescribed fewer medications to treat the condition during their initial medical visit. Of those, only about 20 percent of African-Americans were prescribed newer, dopaminergic drugs, compared to 41 percent of white patients who received those drugs.

The findings have been published online and will be in the April issue of the journal Archives of Neurology.

"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 wrote.

Within the North Shore-LIJ Health System, a creatine vs. placebo clinical trial is trying to determine whether the drug creatine slows the progression of Parkinson's disease.
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