Research reveals link between pesticide use and Parkinson's

Jun 01, 2007

Exposure to pesticides and traumatic head injury are associated with Parkinson's disease, according to EU-funded researchers.

The work, which is published in the journal Occupational and Environmental Medicine, was carried out under the Fifth Framework Programme (FP5) Geoparkinson project, which aimed to investigate how genetic and environmental factors interact to cause Parkinson's disease and related conditions.

The researchers interviewed almost 1,000 patients with Parkinson's or related disorders from Italy, Malta, Scotland, Sweden and Romania. Participants were quizzed on their lifetime exposure to pesticides, solvents, iron, copper and manganese, as well as their experiences of being knocked unconscious and any family history of Parkinson's. The researchers also interviewed 2,000 people without Parkinson's, and compared their responses to those of the group with Parkinson's.

They found that people who had been exposed to low levels of pesticides were 1.09 times more likely to develop Parkinson's disease than those who had never been exposed, while people who had been exposed to high levels of pesticides were 1.39 times more likely to be affected.

'This has implications for occupational and, perhaps, recreational users of these agents,' the researchers comment. 'Further research is needed to establish which pesticides are associated with this effect.

The study also revealed an association between head injury and Parkinson's, with people who had been knocked out once being 1.28 times more likely to develop Parkinson's than people who had never been knocked out. Furthermore, people who had been knocked out frequently were found to be 2.56 times more likely to develop the condition.

'This finding, if confirmed, has implications for all contact sports and, in particular, combat sports such as boxing,' the researchers write.

Meanwhile the study did not throw up any evidence linking solvent exposure or metal exposure to Parkinson's disease.

The study did however confirm that the strongest risk factor was having a close family relative with the disease, although the scientists stress that whether this is due to a shared environment or genetic predisposition is unclear.

'This study has provided important evidence of the increased risk of Parkinson's disease in relation to exposure to pesticides,' the scientists conclude. 'The exposure-response relationship suggests that pesticide exposure may be a causative and potentially modifiable risk factor.'

Source: CORDIS

Explore further: Second bird flu case confirmed in Canada

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Recommended for you

Second bird flu case confirmed in Canada

10 hours ago

The husband of a Canadian who was diagnosed earlier this week with bird flu after returning from a trip to China has also tested positive for the virus, health officials said Friday.

What exactly is coronavirus?

17 hours ago

The conflicts in Syria and Iraq are straining public health systems and public health efforts meant to prevent and detect the spread of infectious diseases. This is generating a "perfect storm" of conditions for outbreaks. Among the infections raising concern is Middle East Respiratory Syndrome, caused by a type of coronavirus, which emerged in 2012. ...

Scientists find Ebola virus is mutating

17 hours ago

(Medical Xpress)—Researchers working at Institut Pasteur in France have found that the Ebola virus is mutating "a lot" causing concern in the African countries where the virus has killed over eight thous ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.