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Prevalence of Parkinson’s in Victoria: A new research report

To coincide with World Parkinson's Day, Parkinson's Victoria has released the key findings of a joint report uncovering the prevalence of Parkinson's in a cluster of rural Victorian areas.

This new report, by Monash University and the Florey Institute of Neuroscience and Mental Health, uncovers a higher prevalence of Parkinson's in four neighbouring local Victoria government areas of Buloke, Horsham, Northern Grampians and Yarriambiack. These are areas with an increased farming production of barley and pulses, including chickpeas, faba beans, lentils and vetches. 

Parkinson's currently affects over 27,000 people in Victoria and more research is needed to learn more about the possible causes.  This new report - focusing on one possible cause - suggests further research is needed to explore the potential link between the use of pesticides used in farming of pulses and an increased risk of Parkinson's. 

The research used an overlay of Parkinson's drug usage across local government areas within Victoria to understand if Parkinson's prevalence between urban and rural locations.  The four local government areas in North West Victoria are exceptions to the rule that Parkinson's prevalence does not differ between urban and rural locations. An additional overlay of the intensity of agricultural production for each area identified if a correlation exists between the risk of Parkinson's and farming techniques.  These four neighbouring areas were identified as having an unusually high prevalence of Parkinson's, suggesting that there is an underlying reason for this increased risk, which warrants further study. 

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