HealthDay News — Rates of Parkinson disease have increased for U.S. men over the past 3 decades, and the trend could be tied to declines in smoking, according to a report published online in JAMA Neurology.

In the new study, a team led by the Mayo Clinic’s Walter Rocca, MD, MPH, tracked long-term data on individuals living in Olmsted County, Minn.

The researchers found that rates of Parkinson disease increased from 18.2 per 100,000 person-years between 1976 and 1985 to 30.4 between 1996 and 2005. The increase was steepest for men aged 70 and older. Rates of parkinsonism among men also rose, from 38.9 per 100,000 person-years between 1976 and 1985 to 55.9 between 1996 and 2005. No similar increases were seen among women.

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The increase may stem from an otherwise very positive health trend among American men over the past few decades: A steep decline in smoking. “The trends could be spurious and need to be confirmed in other populations,” the authors write.

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Savica R, Grossardt BR, Bower JH, et al. Time trends in the incidence of Parkinson Disease. JAMA Neurol. 2016. doi: 10.1001/jamaneurol.2016.0947.