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Neurological disorders in a rural Western Australian population

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Abstract Background:

There is limited information on the causes of neurological disorders in an Australian rural setting. Methods:

This study reports on a prospective cohort of 160 patients (95 women and 65 men) with a mean age of 55.1 years (standard deviation 19.78 years, range 12–92 years) receiving a neurological work-up from one neurologist attending the Geraldton and Midwest region of Western Australia over a 12-month period. Results:

Patients were divided into 15 diagnostic classifications. Movement disorders were the most common diagnostic classification (38 of 160 or 23.75%) and Parkinson's disease was the most common movement disorder (30 of 38 or 78.95%) with an estimated period of prevalence of 187.5 persons per 1000. Of the other neurological disorder diagnosis classifications the following number of patients per group was observed: epilepsy (27 or 16.87%); neuromuscular disorders (22 or 13.75%); multiple sclerosis (12 or 7.5%); cerebrovascular disease (10 or 6.25%); headaches (7 or 4.37%); neurodegenerative (7 or 4.37%); dementias (6 or 3.75%); memory dysfunction (6 or 3.75%); gait disorders (4 or 2.5%); vestibular syndrome (3 or 1.87%); pain syndrome (3 or 1.87%); sensory syndrome (2 or 1.25%); brain injury (1 or 0.62%) and miscellaneous (12 or 7.5%). A high number of persons having Parkinson's disease was found. Conclusion:

Possible risk factors for Parkinson's disease for individuals living in Geraldton and Midwest region need to be investigated. This study raises issues pertaining to the provision of services and allocation of resources in rural areas, especially for patients with Parkinson's disease.
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Keywords: Parkinson's disease; movement disorder; neurological diseases; neurology; pesticides; rural

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Neurodegenerative Disorders Research, Perth and 2: Neurological Nurse Specialists, Neurological Council of Western Australia, Geraldton, Western Australia, Australia

Publication date: 2010-03-01

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