Bad Air and Parkinson Disease—The Fog May Be Lifting

Congratulations to Dr. Michael Okun on the publication of “Bad Air and Parkinson Disease—The Fog May Be Lifting,” which was published in the May 17th edition of JAMA Neurology.


At the same time James Parkinson was describing 6 individuals in London, England, with a novel shuffling disease, British meteorologist Luke Howard was detailing great fogs clouding the air. While both Parkinson disease and air pollution predate the early 19th century, their prevalence have risen together. World regions with the most air pollution (eg, Europe and North America) have generally had the highest rates of Parkinson disease. Those with less pollution (eg, Africa) have had lower rates. Countries undergoing rapid industrialization with poor air quality (eg, China and India) have rising rates of Parkinson disease. These data are not hard evidence but have led many researchers to investigate a potential link.