CNR - Institute of Neuroscience CNR
Institute of Neuroscience


Descriptive Epidemiology of Parkinsonisms in the Italian elderly

The scarcity of population-based incidence data on PK and PD has been the result of low frequency of the diseases and the difficulty in establishing the diagnosis, along with the absence of population-based disease registries. Incidence rates are often based on relatively few diseases cases and therefore precision might be limited, especially for the oldest age-groups.


This investigation was part of the ILSA, a multicenter community-based study of prevalence, incidence and determinants of major age-associated conditions of the elderly. This study estimated the incidence of both Parkinson's disease and other parkinsonisms in a well representative sample of the Italian elderly. The parkinsonism-free cohort was identified within the overall ILSA sample (5632 individuals aged 65-84 years random selected from the population registers of eight Italian municipalities) using a cross-sectional study carried out in 1992 to 1993, which led to the detection of the prevalent cases of parkinsonism (baseline survey). The ILSA cohort was followed for an average of 3 years. All the cohort individuals were contacted again during the second cross-sectional survey (follow-up survey) carried out in 1995 to 1996, to identify incident cases.

The ILSA: Study sample

5,632 free-dwelling and institutionalized individuals, aged 65-84, resident in 8 centers (urban, suburban, rural), randomly selected from the local anagraphic lists (equal allocation by sex and 5-year-age groups).


Selected results

Attrition of the sampled population from the Italian Longitudinal Study on Aging at each step of the two study surveys.


Number of cases of parkinsonism (n), person-years at risk, and incidence rates per 100,000 person-years (95% CI) in the ILSA cohort subjects by sex and age group.


Number of cases (n), average annual incidence rates (per 100,000 person-years), (95% confidence intervals) of Parkinson's disease in the ILSA cohort, by sex and age-group.


Number of cases (n), average annual incidence rates (per 100,000 person-years), (95% confidence intervals) of Parkinson's disease in the ILSA cohort, by sex and age-group.



  • Incidence rates of parkinsonism and Parkinson's Disease increase with increasing age
  • Parkinson's disease is the most common type of parkinsonism
  • Men had a risk of developing Parkinson's disease twice that of women


  • 9363520 [Warning: check DB]
  • Maggi S, Zucchetto M, Grigoletto F, Baldereschi M, Candelise L, Scarpini E, Scarlato G, Amaducci L (1994) The Italian Longitudinal Study on Aging (ILSA): design and methods. Aging (Milano) 6:464-73.
  • Baldereschi M, Di Carlo A, Rocca WA, Vanni P, Maggi S, Perissinotto E, Grigoletto F, Amaducci L, Inzitari D (2000) Parkinson's disease and parkinsonism in a longitudinal study: two-fold higher incidence in men. ILSA Working Group. Italian Longitudinal Study on Aging. Neurology 55:1358-63.


1991 - 1998: The ILSA was supported by the Italian National Research Council with annual grants to each research unit


  • S. Maggi, Italian National Research Council, Padua, Italy.
  • G. Scarlato, MD, L. Candelise, MD, E. Scarpini, University of Milan, Italy.
  • P. Carbonin, Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore, Rome, Italy.
  • G. Farchi, MSc, E. Scafato, Istituto Superiore di Sanità, Rome, Italy.
  • F. Grigoletto, E. Perissinotto, L. Battistin, M. Bressan, G. Enzi, G. Bortolan, University of Padua, Italy.
  • C. Loeb, Italian National Research Council, Genoa, Italy.
  • C. Gandolfo, University of Genoa, Italy.
  • N. Canal, M. Franceschi, San Raffaele Institute, Milan, Italy.
  • A. Ghetti, R. Vergassola, Health Area 10, Florence, Italy.
  • L. Amaducci, D. Inzitari, University of Florence, Italy.
  • S. Bonaiuto, F. Fini, A. Vesprini, G. Cruciani, INRCA Fermo, Italy.
  • A. Capurso, P. Livrea, V. Lepore, University of Bari, Italy.
  • L. Motta, G. Carnazzo, P. Bentivegna, University of Catania, Italy.
  • F. Rengo, F. Covelluzzi, University of Naples, Italy.
  • W. Rocca, Division of Epidemiology, Dept of Health Sciences Research, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, USA.


PI photo

Marzia Baldareschi

Contact information

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Participating staff