Pesticide exposure could increase risk of Parkinson’s

Parkinson’s disease is a degenerative disorder of the central nervous system that impairs motor skills and speech.  In its advanced stages, sufferers could become disabled, with problems feeding themselves, talking, and walking. Nearly 1.5 million Americans live with Parkinson’s disease (PD), and there is no cure.

In a recent study published in Neurology Magazine, researchers found that a number of common pesticides could increase the risk of Parkinson’s disease measurably. The study showed that the odds of developing the condition are two to five times higher for people who are exposed to certain pesticides and who are “genetically vulnerable,” meaning individuals who possess a certain genetic variant.

For the study, researchers examined 360 people with Parkinson’s and 816 people without the disease, all from three rural California counties. The researchers measured the people’s exposure to pesticides at home and at work, and identified 11 pesticides that seemed to increase risk of Parkinson’s, all of which are used in farming.

Some of the findings were as follows:

  • Certain pesticides seemed to increase risk of Parkinson’s more than others; for instance, the pesticide benomyl increased Parkinson’s risk 65 percent, while the pesticide dieldrin raised risk six times.
  • The more pesticides a person was exposed to, the higher the risk of developing Parkinson’s — people had a 3.5 times higher risk of developing the condition if they were exposed to at least three of the pesticides at home and work.

“We were very surprised that so many pesticides [seemed to increase risk of Parkinson’s] and at quite low concentrations, concentrations that were way below what was needed for the pesticides to do their job,” study author Dr. Jeff Bronstein, a professor of neurology and director of the Movement Disorders Program at UCLA, said in a statement. “These pesticides are pretty ubiquitous, and can be found on our food supply and are used in parks and golf courses and in pest control inside our buildings and homes.”

Studies such as this one and another about Alzheimer’s and DDT  confirm the dangers of pesticides and hopefully will help give researchers more insight into treatments for people who develop diseases from these dangerous chemicals.

Are you or a loved one suffering from Parkinson’s Disease? At The Fairfax and Fredericksburg Elder Care Firm of Evan H. Farr, P.C., we are dedicated to easing the financial and emotional burden on those suffering from Parkinson’s Disease and their loved ones.  We can help you prepare for your future financial and long-term care needs.  We help protect your hard-earned assets while maintaining your comfort, dignity, and quality of life by ensuring your eligibility for critical government benefits. Please call us at 703-691-1888 in Fairfax or 540-479-1435 in Fredericksburg to make an appointment for a no-cost consultation.

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