Anxiety disorders are common in Parkinson's disease (PD). However, the risk of PD among people with anxiety has not been examined in a prospective cohort study. We examined this relation prospectively within the Health Professionals Follow-Up Study, a cohort of US male health professionals. In 1988, anxiety was assessed using the Crown-Crisp phobic anxiety index in 35,815 men without PD, stroke, or cancer at baseline. There were 189 incident cases of PD during 12 years of follow-up. After adjusting for age, smoking, and caffeine intake, the relative risk of PD among men with the highest level of anxiety (Crown-Crisp index scores of 4 and above) was 1.5 (95% CI = 1.0-2.1; P-trend = 0.01) compared to men with the lowest level of anxiety. This positive association persisted after excluding cases of PD with onset in the first 2 years of follow-up. Use of anxiolytic medication was also associated with an elevated risk of PD (RR= 1.6; 95% CI = 0.9-3.1), but adjusting for this potential confounder did not materially affect the association between anxiety and risk of PD. Our results suggest that anxiety is a risk factor for PD. Whether this association is causal or the result of shared underlying biology remains a question.
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