Do risky behaviours predispose to Parkinson’s disease?

Risky behaviors and Parkinson disease: a mendelian randomization study.

Grover S, Lill CM, Kasten M, Klein C, Del Greco M F, König IR.

Neurology 2019; 93:e1412-e1424.



To examine causal associations between risky behavior phenotypes and Parkinson disease using a mendelian randomization approach.


We used 2-sample mendelian randomization to generate unconfounded estimates using summary statistics from 2 independent, large meta-analyses of genome-wide association studies on risk-taking behaviors (n = 370,771-939,908) and Parkinson disease (cases n = 9,581, controls n = 33,245). We used the inverse variance weighted method as the main method for judging causality.


Our results support a strong protective association between the tendency to smoke and Parkinson disease (odds ratio [OR] 0.714 per log odds of ever smoking, 95% confidence interval [CI] 0.568-0.897, p = 0.0041, Cochran Q test p = 0.238; I 2 index 6.3%). Furthermore, we observed risk association trends between automobile speed propensity and the number of sexual partners and Parkinson disease after removal of overlapping loci with other risky traits (OR 1.986 for each 1-SD increase in normalized automobile speed propensity, 95% CI 1.215-3.243, p = 0.0066; OR 1.635 for each 1-SD increase in number of sexual partners, 95% CI 1.165-2.293, p = 0.0049).


These findings provide support for a causal relationship between general risk tolerance and Parkinson disease and may provide new insights into the pathogenic mechanisms leading to the development of Parkinson disease.

This study is cited in the neurochecklist:

Parkinson’s disease (PD): risk factors

Abstract link

Skydiving. Mohanraj Sivanandam on Flickr.

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