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Neurology. 2002 Jan 8;58(1):79-84.

Epidemiologic study of 203 sibling pairs with Parkinson's disease: the GenePD study.

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Department of Neurology, Boston University School of Medicine, MA 02118, USA.

Erratum in

  • Neurology. 2002 Apr 9;58(7):1136.



To examine patterns of familial aggregation and factors influencing onset age in a sample of siblings with PD.


Sibling pairs (n = 203) with PD were collected as part of the GenePD study. Standardized family history, medical history, and risk factor data were collected and analyzed.


The mean age at onset was 61.4 years and did not differ according to sex, exposure to coffee, alcohol, or pesticides. Head trauma was associated with younger onset (p = 0.03) and multivitamin use with later onset (p = 0.007). Age at onset correlation between sibling pairs was significant (r = 0.56, p = 0.001) and was larger than the correlation in year of onset (r = 0.29). The mean difference in onset age between siblings was 8.7 years (range, 0 to 30 years). Female sex was associated with increased frequency of relatives with PD. The frequency of affected parents (7.0%) and siblings (5.1%) was increased when compared with frequency in spouses (2.0%).


The greater similarity for age at onset than for year of onset in sibling pairs with PD, together with increased risk for biological relatives over spouses of cases, supports a genetic component for PD. Risk to siblings in this series is increased over that seen in random series of PD cases; however, patients in this sample have similar ages at onset and sex distribution as seen for PD generally. These analyses suggest that factors influencing penetrance are critical to the understanding of this disease.

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