Pesticide Exposure Linked To Parkinson’s Disease Again

Exposure to pesticides was linked again to Parkinson’s disease, according to a fresh look at past research. Emanuele Cereda, who works at IRCCS University Hospital San Matteor Foundation, and Gianni Pezzoli of the Parkinston Institute – ICP, were the latest to search for a possible link between the two.

The findings by the two, published in the journal Neurology on Tuesday, confirm previous studies that pointed to a link between pesticide exposure and the neurological disease.

Dr. James Bower a neurologist from the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, who wasn’t involved in the new study, stated:

“We’re definitely learning that Parkinson’s disease is not caused by one thing. We’re finding a lot of risks for Parkinson’s and pesticides are just one of many.”

Two recent studies in 2011 and 2012 reported that people with Parkinson’s usually had some kind of exposure to pesticides. The 2011 study was of US farm workers from National Institutes of Health. It found that some pesticides known to interfere with cell function were linked to the workers developing Parkinson’s.

The 2012 study reported similar results, this time comparing pesticide exposure in Parkinson’s patients versus that of people without the condition. The neurological disease affects 500,000 Americans including actor Michael J. Fox.

Overall, researchers discovered that exposure to pesticides can be tied to a 58 percent increase in the risk of developing Parkinson’s. The increase is equal to about 10 more Parkinson’s cases in every 1,000 40-year-old residents in Olmstead County, Minnesota.

Currently, about 17 of every 1,000 people in the county will develop the disease. Along with a general increase in the risk of Parkinson’s, certain pesticides, like the plant killer paraquat and fungus killers maneb and mancozeb, can cause a doubling of the risk.

Bower warned that the double risk was seen more in farm workers who use pesticides on a regular bases, not people who use the weed killers around their homes. Still, the findings give a good reason to avoid pesticides whenever possible. If they are not avoidable, doctors recommend wearing proper protection when handling the chemicals.

Do you use pesticides in your home? How does the latest study linking Parkinson’s to pesticide exposure change the way you feel about using the chemicals?

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