Geographical clusters of PD

I would be very interested to hear from anyone who thinks there is an unusually high prevalence of PD in their area.

About one in 500 people in the UK have Parkinson's. So, at first sight, it would seem to be very unusual for there to be two people in a street with PD. But, for a number of reasons it is not so rare:

- The chances are that any report is biased by the fact that many people reading this will have PD. Their area already has at least one PwP, with probability one.

- Given that there are thousands of areas, some will just by chance have a higher than expected number of cases.

- Some areas will have a higher than average number of older people.

- Genetics: because families tend to live close together any genetic association is likely to appear as a geographical association. 

That said, if we were to identify a cluster, it might help in finding the cause of Parkinson's.


I live in a town whewhee a lof peoppeope hav moved in to retire or holiday home, whereas a lotof local people have eith been priced out and move to somewhwere affordable, or becase of lack of work movedto whee theycould have a better chance of interesting work  therefre a cluster in my area woud not help detrmine hereditory factors.


Hi John,

I live in a small village near York. There are 75 houses occupied by all different ages, (290 residents), so not predominantly old!  We are surrounded by fields and farmland. My next door neighbour was diagnosed with PD, 6yrs. ago, aged 52......I was diagnosed 2yrs. after her, aged 62. Another friend in the village, has just been diagnosed, aged 71. A mile away, a farmer friend was diagnosed some time ago, aged 60. Another good friend, who lives 3mls. away in a small village, was diagnosed 8yrs. ago, aged 52. None of us have family members who suffered Parkinson's.

Don't know if this is regarded as a 'cluster', but thought you might be interested.




Maybe this is an area for reseach?

Any comments PUK???

We have maybe an unusally large number of PWP in our local branch for the population of the  town that we live in.

Twinks thank you for replying. I don't think your village, with 3 PwP in 290 people, is a cluster. At first sight it looks like it might be since the average for a village of this size is just 0.6 PwP (that is 290/500). This means that your village has 5 times the national average. But ...:

- There is your bias as a PwP in the population of which you report.

- There is the temptation to introduce new potential clusters, by looking at other PwP in surrounding areas. This is like buying multiple lottery tickets to get multiple chances of winning.

- This is just one of the approximate 200,000 areas (villages, neighbourhoods, 60000000/290) in the UK with this population size. Some of which are certain to have high numbers of PwP by chance.

Just out of interest do you have any large flocks of starlings in your village? (I wonder if there is an association between birds and PD.)


Hi John,

No we don't have large flocks of starlings, but we have a lot of pigeons and collared doves.  (Also a good variety of other birds too, including cuckoos each year).

I would be looking instead, at the types of fertilisers they use to spray the crops. It's my belief that some people are more susceptible to that, than others, which can lead to Parkinson's. I think I read somewhere that the incidence of PD is higher in the countryside than in towns.......could be wrong though.


Just detouring for a mo. Twinks just had a glorious few days in Stamford bridge York. Loved it. 


Hi Sue,

Pleased to hear you enjoyed your holiday in Stamford Bridge. I did a teaching practice at the primary school there, many moons ago, (late 1960's!). York is a lovely city, with lots to do and see. I live 12mls. away in a little village. If you ever come again, we could meet up.

All the best.


Thank you Twinks. I'm sure we'll be back again as enjoy it so much. You are lucky to live in such a lovely part of the country!

best wishes


A friend of mine has had PD for many years and grew up on a farm where her father used DDT on his crops (many years ago) also they kept chickens. Her Neurologist asked her if she had any connections with farming and keeping birds!

I asked my PD consultant if Hairdressers were at a higher risk as so many chemicals are used, and the fact that i have been in Hairdressing for the last 48 years. She replied  studies show that Hairdressing is one of the lowest professions to get PD and Teaching is the highest overall.

Why on earth would this be? unless it has a connection with stress maybe.

Does anyone have any ideas on this?


I was a the same school for 26yrs. and sometimes got very stressed. Also kept chickens a few years before being diagnosed! Lived all my life in the country too, surrounded by sprayed fields.

Wish someone could find out exactly what causes PD.....argggg!

Hi all,

Unfortunately at the moment we don't have any up-to-date information on this. However we're doing some research looking into the prevalence of Parkinson's that we hope will help us address questions like this in future. This research should be published towards the end of the year.

Some research has looked into geographical differences in Parkinson's prevalence. However these studies often focus on looking at differences between countries or regions of a country rather than smaller geographical areas such as towns or villages. Some of these studies suggest there are geographical differences in Parkinson's prevalence. It's hard to determine exactly what causes these geographical differences but genetic and environmental factors are often used to explain them. However other factors including how the data is collected or geographical differences in Parkinson's diagnosis could also influence these studies.

Best Wishes,

The Research Team

I take that as a NO then.

Three years ago, using June 2012 prescription data from every GP practice in England (which was then available under the Government's Open Data initiative) I estimated the number of PwP in each practice by associating some drugs, e.g. levodopa, with PD. From this I was able to draw maps of estimated relative prevalence of PD.