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Racial Disparities in Parkinson Disease: A Systematic Review of the Literature

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DOI: 10.4236/apd.2016.54011    1,201 Downloads   1,906 Views Citations

ABSTRACT

Racial differences in the prevalence of Parkinson’s disease (PD) have been reported for decades. Many of the earliest reports were flawed because they were based on crude datasets, such as hospital databases, death certificates, door-to-door surveys and records of Medicare beneficiaries. These studies provided conflicting results and were found to have numerous biases. Publications with improved study designs in recent years have yielded higher quality findings that are worth reviewing. We reviewed studies published between 2005 and 2014 that analyzed the racial differences in Parkinson’s disease diagnosis, treatment—including deep brain stimulation—and access to care. Literature searches were conducted in PubMed and EBSCO. These studies highlight advances in the field and explore differences in PD among ethnic and racial groups. Our literature review focused on prevalence, treatment and diagnosis discrepancies, and racial variations in the perceptions of aging. An appraisal of twelve reviewed studies determined a decrease in prevalence and incidence of PD in Americans of African descent compared to Caucasians. The studies also showed multiple health disparities, including lack of access to care, treatment, and inclusion in research. More studies are needed to address the causes and prevention of health disparities, as well as solutions, such as community outreach.

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Branson, C. , Ferree, A. , Hohler, A. and Saint-Hilaire, M. (2016) Racial Disparities in Parkinson Disease: A Systematic Review of the Literature. Advances in Parkinson's Disease, 5, 87-96. doi: 10.4236/apd.2016.54011.

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