Risk for Parkinson’s Disease May Be Linked to an Earlier Diagnosis of Diabetes

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

A study from England published online in Neurology on June 13 suggests that people with type 2 diabetes may have an increased risk of developing Parkinson’s disease (PD) later in life. Data from all hospitalizations in England was analyzed to identify patients with a diagnosis of type 2 diabetes and a later diagnosis of PD.

Researchers reviewed records from January 1999 through December 2011. They were able to construct a cohort of 2,017,115 patients admitted to the hospital with a diagnosis code for type 2 diabetes, and compared to a reference cohort of 6,173,208 patients without a diabetes diagnosis.

The results showed that patients with type 2 diabetes had a 32% greater risk of being diagnosed later with PD. Additionally, patients with complications associated with type 2 diabetes had a 49% increased risk, and younger type 2 diabetes (ages 25-44 years) had almost 3 times increased risk compared to patients in the same age range without diabetes.


Description of patient condition

Hazard Ratio

Confidence Interval


Type 2 diabetes


95%, 1.29-1.35

P < .001

Type 2 diabetes with diabetic complications


95%, 1.42-1.56


Type 2 diabetes, aged 25-44 years


95%, 2.84-5.11



Multiple previous studies have suggested a link between diabetes and Parkinson’s.

“We wanted to look at this in more detail and our study is the largest by far to investigate such an association. The power of this study is its sheer size, with 2 million people with type 2 diabetes. They were compared with a control group of 6 million people without diabetes, with results controlled for sex, age, and place of residence,” said Thomas T. Warner, FRCP, PhD, UCL Institute of Neurology, London, England, the study’s senior author.

“Whether it is genetics that may play a role in the development of these diseases or they have similar pathways to development needs to be investigated further,”  Warner stated.

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