Science and Technology
publicado em 03/07/2011 às 13h00:00
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Software is created to calculate the size of the population who suffers from Parkinson's

This information will help managers predict the impacts of the disease on public health and costs to treat these patients

 
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Parkinson's is not only difficult to diagnose. It is also difficult to estimate precisely how many people actually suffer from the disease. Current statistics come from small scale studies, usually based on information from clinics and there is no record or database to do this given formal control.

To fill this gap, researchers at Tel Aviv University in Israel, created a computer program able to calculate more accurately how many people are carriers of disease. This will allow researchers to better prepare for the impacts of the disease on public health and to provide more realistic estimates on the cost of treating these patients.

The researchers developed a drug detector algorithm refined. Based on the medication history of a patient, the algorithm assigns one of three possible categories of patients with Parkinson's disease: those who definitely have the disease, probably those who have and those who possibly have.

It is estimated that one percent of the population over 60 suffers from Parkinson's, but the specialist in health statistics, Chava Peretz, questioned this estimate, believing that the numbers may be much higher. The algorithm developed for it is based on four factors: the type of anti-Parkinson drugs prescribed, the age at which the patient was entered into the system of treatment, duration of follow-up period, and the number and continuity of drug purchases.

The researchers were looking for prevalent cases (the number of people currently living with Parkinson's) and incident cases (the number of people newly diagnosed with the disease each year). "Based on this algorithm, we identified approximately 7000 prevalent cases of Parkinson's disease and about 5,000 incident cases during the study period. The team determined that the prevalence rate for the population was 1% for patients over 50 years of age, 2% for those over 60 years, and 3% for those over 70 years, doubling previous estimates. Moreover, the average age at the time of first diagnosis was about 70 years, and instead of 60 years, "said Peretz.

To confirm the results, Peretz and his colleagues performed a validation test in which the algorithm could accurately identify 95% of patients.

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Source: Isaude.net
   Palavras-chave:   Parkinson's disease    Statistics    Algorithm    Estimation    Diagnostic   
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