Differential effect of environmental risk factors on postural instability gait difficulties and tremor dominant Parkinson's disease

Mov Disord. 2010 Sep 15;25(12):1847-52. doi: 10.1002/mds.23178.


Both environmental and genetic factors contribute to the development of Parkinson's disease (PD). We have examined environmental risk factors in a Norwegian population of incident PD patients and controls, the Norwegian ParkWest study. All five neurological wards in the study area of Western Norway participated in the study. A 4-step diagnostic procedure was used to establish a representative cohort of patients with incident PD at a high level of diagnostic accuracy. 212 incident PD patients and 175 age- and gender-matched controls were included. PD patients and controls were asked for information on occupation, education, exposure to pesticides, tobacco, alcohol, and caffeine. Agricultural work was associated with a higher risk of PD (OR 1.75 (1.03-3.0) P = 0.009). There were no differences as to other occupations. Smoking (OR 0.63 (0.42-0.95) P = 0.016) and alcohol use (OR 0.55 P = 0.008) were associated with a lower risk for PD. Interestingly, this inverse association was only seen in postural instability gait difficulties (PIGD) PD (P = 0.046 for smoking, P = 0.07 for alcohol consumption), and not in tremor dominant (TD) PD which was similar to controls. Consumption of coffee was lower in PD patients (3.3 ± 1.8 cups per day vs. 3.8 ± 2.0 in controls P = 0.02). In the regression model including intake of alcohol, coffee, and smoke, only coffee (P = 0.007) and alcohol intake (P = 0.021) remained significant whereas smoking was no longer significant. Thus, it seems as though only coffee intake reduces the risk of PD in general while associations to alcohol and smoking differ between PIGD and TD-PD patients.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Alcohol Drinking / adverse effects
  • Coffee / adverse effects
  • Drinking Behavior
  • Gait*
  • Humans
  • Parkinson Disease / etiology*
  • Parkinson Disease / physiopathology
  • Postural Balance*
  • Regression Analysis
  • Risk Factors
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Smoking / adverse effects
  • Statistics, Nonparametric


  • Coffee