J Mov Disord.  2021 Jan;14(1):34-41. 10.14802/jmd.20034.

The Queensland Parkinson’s Project: An Overview of 20 Years of Mortality from Parkinson’s Disease

  • 1Griffith Institute for Drug Discovery, School of Environment and Science, Griffith University, Brisbane, Australia
  • 2Queensland Brain Institute, University of Queensland, Brisbane, Australia


The consensus is that life expectancy for individuals with Parkinson’s disease (PD) is reduced, but estimations vary. We aimed to provide an overview of 20 years of mortality and risk factor data from the Queensland Parkinson’s Project.
The analysis included 1,334 PD and 1,127 control participants. Preliminary analysis of baseline characteristics (sex, age at onset, family history, smoking status, pesticide exposure, depression and neurosurgery) was conducted, and Kaplan–Meier curves were generated for each potential risk factor. Standardized mortality ratios (SMRs) were calculated comparing this cohort to the general Australian population. Cox proportional hazards regression modeling was used to analyze potential predictors of mortality.
In total, 625 (46.8%) PD and 237 (21.0%) control participants were deceased. Mean disease duration until death was 15.3 ± 7.84 years. Average ages at death were 78.0 ± 7.4 years and 80.4 ± 8.4 years for the deceased PD and control participants, respectively. Mortality was significantly increased for PD in general {SMR = 2.75 [95% confidence interval (CI): 2.53–2.96]; p = 0.001}. SMRs were slightly higher for women and those with an age of onset before 60 years. Multivariate analysis showed that deep brain stimulation (DBS) treatment was associated with lower mortality [hazard ratio (HR) = 0.76; 95% CI: 0.59–0.98], while occasional pesticide exposure increased mortality risk (HR = 1.48; 95% CI: 1.17–1.88). Family history of PD, smoking and depression were not independent predictors of mortality.
Mortality in PD is increased. Sex, age at onset and occasional pesticide exposure were independent determinants of increased mortality, while DBS treatment was associated with reduced mortality.


Deep brain stimulation; Life expectancy; Mortality; Parkinson’s disease; Prognostication
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