Parkinson’s disease risk higher due to exposure to pesticides

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Exposure to pesticides, weed killers and solvents is likely to be associated with a higher risk for developing Parkinson’s disease, revealed by researchers in the Neurology, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology.

“Due to this association, there was also a link between farming or country living and developing Parkinson’s in some of the studies,” said study author Emanuele Cereda of the IRCCS University Hospital San Matteo Foundation in Pavia, Italy.

Cereda conducted the research along with Gianni Pezzoli of the Parkinson Institute (ICP) in Milan.

For the analysis, researchers reviewed 104 studies that looked at exposure to weed, fungus, rodent or bug killers, and solvents and the risk of developing Parkinson`s disease. Studies that evaluated the proximity of exposure, such as country living, work occupation and well water drinking were also included.

The researchers found that exposure to bug or weed killers and solvents increased the risk of developing Parkinson’s disease by 33 to 80 per cent.

In controlled studies, exposure to the weed killer paraquat or the fungicides maneb and mancozeb was associated with two times increase in the risk of developing the disease.

Humans exposed to certain pesticides, including organochlorines such as DDT, have been shown to develop Parkinson’s disease through damage to neurons that produce the neurotransmitter dopamine.

Source: Neurology, USA

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