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 Anemia Can Be Precursor to Parkinson's Disease (Mayo Roch) 
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Post Anemia Can Be Precursor to Parkinson's Disease (Mayo Roch)
This press release out of Mayo Rochester (MN) is about a new study that showed that anemia can be a precursor to developing Parkinson's Disease later in life. This study looks again at the records and blood of 196 people who developed PD in Olmsted County (MN) over a twenty-year period. Those 196 people with PD and the many controls who participated in the study have had their records looked at many, many times. It's wonderful that so many people participated in this research!

In our local support group, I've heard of people with MSA reporting anemia.

Here are two online video resources about this story: --> YouTube video of Dr. Walter Rocca speaking about the study (1 minute) ... s-disease/ --> scroll down to the Journalists section where you'll find .wmv and .mp3 files on a study overview, study findings, and patient message

The press release is copied below.

Mayo Clinic Study Finds Anemia Might be Associated With Development of Parkinson's Disease
Tuesday, April 28, 2009
Mayo Clinic Press Release

ROCHESTER, Minn. — Results of a new Mayo Clinic study support an association between anemia experienced early in life and the development of Parkinson's disease many years later. The findings will be presented at the American Academy of Neurology Annual Meeting in Seattle on April 30, 2009.

"We were surprised to discover that chronic anemia or low levels of hemoglobin were linked to the risk of Parkinson's disease 20-30 years later," says Walter Rocca M.D. an author of the study and a neurologist at Mayo Clinic.

Hemoglobin is the protein that transports oxygen in the blood, an essential element for life. "We looked at both anemia as diagnosed by a physician and low hemoglobin values," Dr. Rocca says. "Both were associated with an increased risk of Parkinson's disease. This might indicate that Parkinson's disease actually starts 20-30 years before we see any motor changes in the body."

The case-control study included 196 people who developed Parkinson's disease in Olmsted County, Minn., from 1976 through 1995. Each case was matched by age and sex to a general population control subject who was not affected by Parkinson's disease. The medical records of cases and controls were reviewed using the resources of the Rochester Epidemiology Project to determine if there was a link between anemia or low hemoglobin levels and the risk of developing Parkinson's disease many years later. Anemia was significantly more common in the history of cases than in the history of controls.

Dr. Rocca and his team hope to replicate these results in another population group. "We first need to confirm the study results. If the findings are replicated, we will try to understand what are the underlying mechanisms. Understanding the mechanisms may lead to new ways to prevent or treat Parkinson's disease," Dr. Rocca says.

Other members of the Mayo Clinic research team included Rodolfo Savica, M.D.; Justin Carlin; Brandon Grossardt; James Bower, M.D.; and Demetrius Maraganore, M.D.


About Mayo Clinic

Mayo Clinic is the first and largest integrated, not-for-profit group practice in the world. Doctors from every medical specialty work together to care for patients, joined by common systems and a philosophy of "the needs of the patient come first." More than 3,300 physicians, scientists and researchers and 46,000 allied health staff work at Mayo Clinic, which has sites in Rochester, Minn., Jacksonville, Fla., and Scottsdale/Phoenix, Ariz. Collectively, the three locations treat more than half a million people each year. To obtain the latest news releases from Mayo Clinic, go to For information about research and education visit is available as a resource for your health stories.

Fri May 01, 2009 1:11 pm
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