Study links pesticides to Parkinson’s

March 28th, 2008 - 10:53 am ICT by admin  

New York, March 28 (IANS) Researchers have established a link between Parkinson’s disease and exposure to pesticides by comparing afflicted patients with their healthy relatives. Parkinson’s is a neurological disorder affecting millions across the globe and develops in later life causing symptoms like tremors and muscle rigidity.

The majority of such cases are thought to be due to an interaction between genetic and environmental factors.

“Previous studies have shown that individuals with Parkinson’s disease are over twice as likely to report being exposed to pesticides as unaffected individuals,” said the study’s lead author Dana Hancock.

“But few studies have looked at this association in people from the same family or have assessed associations between specific classes of pesticides and Parkinson’s disease,” said Hancock.

Findings of the study have been published online in the open access journal BMC Neurology.

The study of related individuals sharing environmental and genetic backgrounds that might contribute to Parkinson’s enables researchers to identify specific differences in exposures between healthy and afflicted individuals.

The team from Duke University and the University of Miami surveyed 319 patients and over 200 relatives. They used phone interviews to obtain histories of pesticide exposure, living or working on a farm, and well-water drinking.

The authors detected an association between pesticide use and Parkinson’s disease. Among these, the strongest were between the disorder and use of herbicides and insecticides, such as organochlorides and organophosphates.

No association was found between Parkinson’s disease and well-water drinking or living or working on a farm, which are two commonly used proxies for pesticide exposures.

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