Impact of ethnicity on the natural history of Parkinson disease

Anna Sauerbier, Azman Aris, Ee Wei Lim, Kalyan Bhattacharya and K Ray Chaudhuri
Med J Aust 2018; 208 (9): . || doi: 10.5694/mja17.01074
Published online: 21 May 2018



  • Parkinson disease (PD) affects people of all races and ethnicity worldwide.
  • PD is a multineurotransmitter and multisystem disorder and our current concept of the natural history of PD has changed considerably over the past decades.
  • Many aspects of this heterogeneous condition still remain unexplained; one aspect that is poorly studied is the role of ethnicity and manifest motor and non-motor PD.
  • Some preliminary data suggest that the prodromal risk of developing PD, clinical symptom expression and the experience of living with the condition may vary between different ethnic groups.
  • Several factors might play a role in the influence of ethnicity on PD, such as pharmacogenetics, sociocultural aspects and environmental exposures.
  • Increased knowledge on the role of ethnicity in PD may help shed light on the symptom expression and treatment response of PD, address inequalities in health care delivery worldwide and improve the delivery of personalised medicine.


  • 1 Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience, King's College London, UK
  • 2 Parkinson's Foundation Centre of Excellence, King's College Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, London, UK
  • 3 National Neuroscience Institute, Singapore
  • 4 RG Kar Medical College and Hospital, Kolkata, India



We acknowledge the support of the Movement Disorder Society Non-Motor PD Study Group and the Non-Motor PD Early Career Subgroup, and of the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) London South Clinical Research Network and the NIHR Biomedical Research Centre. Anna Sauerbier has received funding from Parkinson’s UK and the Kirby Laing Foundation. This article represents independent collaborative research part funded by the NIHR Biomedical Research Centre at South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust and King’s College London.

Competing interests:

No relevant disclosures.

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