Objective: To investigate the association of Parkinson disease (PD) with education and occupations using a case-control study design.
Methods: The authors used the medical records-linkage system of the Rochester Epidemiology Project to identify all subjects who developed PD in Olmsted County, MN, from 1976 through 1995. Each incident case was matched by age (+/-1 year) and sex to a general population control. The authors collected information about education and occupations using two independent sources of data: a review of the complete medical records in the system and a telephone interview. Occupations were coded using the 1980 Standard Occupational Classification.
Results: Subjects with 9 or more years of education were at increased risk of PD (OR = 2.0; 95% CI = 1.1 to 3.6; p = 0.02), and there was a trend of increasing risk with increasing education (test for linear trend, p = 0.02; medical records data). Physicians were at significantly increased risk of PD using both sources of occupational data. By contrast, four occupational groups showed a significantly decreased risk of PD using one source of data: construction and extractive workers (e.g., miners, oil well drillers), production workers (e.g., machine operators, fabricators), metal workers, and engineers. These associations with increased or decreased risk did not change noticeably after adjustment for education.
Conclusion: Subjects with higher education and physicians have an increased risk of Parkinson disease (PD), while subjects with some occupations presumed to involve high physical activity have a decreased risk of PD.