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Movement Disorders Clinical Practice


BACKGROUND: Early-onset Parkinson's disease (EOPD)/young-onset Parkinson's disease (YOPD) is defined as Parkinson's disease (PD) with an age at onset (AAO) after age 21 years but before the usual AAO for PD. Consensus is lacking, and the reported maximal age for EOPD/YOPD has varied from 40 to 60 years, leading to a lack of uniformity in published studies and difficulty in harmonization of data. EOPD and YOPD have both been used in the literature, somewhat interchangeably.

OBJECTIVE: To define the nomenclature and AAO cutoff for EOPD/YOPD.

METHODS: An extensive review of the literature and task force meetings were conducted. Conclusions were reached by consensus.

RESULTS: First, the literature has seen a shift from the use of YOPD toward EOPD. This seems motivated by an attempt to avoid age-related stigmatization of patients. Second, in defining EOPD, 56% of the countries use 50 or 51 years as the cutoff age. Third, the majority of international genetic studies in PD use an age cutoff of younger than 50 years to define EOPD. Fourth, many studies suggest that changes in the estrogen level can affect the predisposition to develop PD, making the average age at menopause of 50 years an important factor to consider when defining EOPD. Fifth, considering the differential impact of the AAO of PD on professional and social life, using 50 years as the upper cutoff for the definition of EOPD seems reasonable.

CONCLUSIONS: This task force recommends the use of EOPD rather than YOPD. It defines EOPD as PD with AAO after 21 years but before 50 years.


Parkinson's disease, early onset, young onset, age cutoff

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