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Do physical exercise and reading reduce the risk of Parkinson’s disease? a cross-sectional study on factors associated with Parkinson’s disease in elderly Chinese veterans

Authors Zou Y, Tan J, Li N, Yang J, Yu BC, Yu J, Zhao Y, Wang L, Zhang H

Received 22 December 2014

Accepted for publication 9 February 2015

Published 16 March 2015 Volume 2015:11 Pages 695—700


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single anonymous peer review

Peer reviewer comments 3

Editor who approved publication: Professor Wai Kwong Tang

YM Zou,1 JP Tan,2 N Li,3 JS Yang,4 BC Yu,5 JM Yu,6 YM Zhao,3 LN Wang2

1Department of Neurology, Huanhu Hospital, Tianjin, 2Department of Geriatric Neurology, Chinese PLA General Hospital, 3Research Center of Clinical Epidemiology, Peking University Third Hospital, Beijing, 4Department of Neurology, General Hospital of Lanzhou Military Command, Lanzhou, 5Department of Gerontology, Bethune International Peace Hospital, Shijiazhuang, 6Department of Neurology, Chinese PLA 107 Hospital, Yantai, People’s Republic of China

Background: The purpose of this study was to investigate risk factors for and factors protecting against Parkinson’s disease (PD) in elderly Chinese veterans.
Methods: Using a database containing detailed information on the health status of the nervous system in elderly Chinese veterans, univariate and multivariate analyses of factors that may be associated with PD were performed. Univariate analysis of qualitative data was done using the Pearson Chi-square and Fisher’s exact tests, and the Mann–Whitney U nonparametric test was used for univariate analysis of quantitative data. Multivariate logistic regression analysis was used to identify independent risk factors for and factors protecting against PD in elderly Chinese veterans.
Results: A total of 9,676 elderly Chinese veterans were enrolled, including 228 cases with PD and 183 cases with Parkinson’s syndrome, with 9,265 non-PD subjects serving as controls. Age (odds ratio [OR] 1.343, 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.028–1.755) and medical history of essential tremor (OR 1.228, 95% CI 1.081–1.396) were identified as independent risk factors for PD, with age being the most important risk factor. Physical exercise (OR 0.478, 95% CI 0.355–0.643) and reading (OR 0.513, 95% CI 0.357–0.735) were identified as independent factors protecting against PD, and physical exercise showed better protection against PD relative to reading. Smoking, alcohol use, anemia, cerebral trauma, education level, and electromagnetic field exposure showed no association with PD.
Conclusion: Physical exercise and reading may be independent factors that protect against PD among elderly Chinese veterans, while advancing age and medical history of essential tremor may be independent risk factors for PD. This study was cross-sectional, so further research is needed to confirm its results.

Keywords: Chinese veterans, Parkinson’s disease, physical exercise, reading, age, medical history, essential tremor

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