Prevalence and incidence of Parkinson's disease in The Faroe Islands

Acta Neurol Scand. 2008 Aug;118(2):126-31. doi: 10.1111/j.1600-0404.2007.00991.x. Epub 2008 Feb 19.


Objective: A study in The Faroe Islands in 1995 suggested a high prevalence of idiopathic Parkinson's disease (IPD) and total parkinsonism of 187.6 and 233.4 per 100,000 inhabitants respectively.

Methods: Detailed case-finding methods 10 years later were used and a neurologist has verified the diagnosis.

Results: The crude prevalence of IPD and total parkinsonism was 206.7 per 100,000 and 227.4 per 100,000 respectively. The age-adjusted prevalence is twice as high as data from Norway and Denmark. Age at initiation of treatment and the fatality rate did not explain the increased prevalence. During 1995-2005, the average annual incidence was 21.1 per 100,000 persons for Parkinson's disease, and 22.9 per 100,000 persons, if including atypical parkinsonism.

Conclusion: The high prevalence was verified and linked to a high incidence. The cause of the high prevalence is unknown, but neurotoxic contaminants in traditional food may play a role in the pathogenesis in this population, perhaps jointly with genetic predisposition.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Denmark / epidemiology
  • Environment
  • Family Health
  • Female
  • Geography
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Parkinson Disease / epidemiology*
  • Parkinson Disease / genetics
  • Prevalence