Article published by : Max Health on Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Category : Health Conditions

Study Links Pesticide Exposure and Brain Injuries to Parkinson's Disease

According to a recent study by researchers at University of California, Los Angeles, people who have suffered a traumatic brain injury and lived in areas with exposure to pesticides may be three times more likely to develop Parkinson's disease.

While prior research suggests that traumatic brain injuries are linked to the disease, the effect has not been seen across the board. However, pesticides have been suspected of being tied to Parkinson's because of the high rate of the disease among farm workers. A previous study from the University of California, Berkeley, found that exposure to paraquat and maneb within 500 meters of a person's home may increase the risk of developing the disease by 75 percent.

Parkinson's disease is a neurological condition that causes tremors, slowness of movement and stiffness of the body. Many that suffer from this disease experience trouble maintaining their balance. Research has shown that the condition is caused by the loss of brain cells that produce dopamine, a natural chemical in the body that regulates movement. CBS News reports that approximately 50,000 to 60,000 new cases are diagnosed in the United States each year.

Research has shown that paraquat -- a toxic herbicide used for weeds and grass control -- affects the dopamine-producing parts of the brain. What was not clear was the impact of the chemical exposure in combination with a brain injury.

In UCLA's recent study, researchers compared a group of 357 people with Parkinson's to 754 people without the disease. All respondents lived in an agricultural area in central California. Using records of pesticide applications dating back to 1974, researchers tracked exposure to paraquats in the study. The research participants were also asked to report any head injuries suffered in their pasts that caused loss of consciousness longer than five minutes.

The examination found that 42 of the 357 people with Parkinson's reported having had a traumatic brain injury compared to 50 of the 754 people without the disease. Moreover, those with Parkinson's were 36 percent more likely to report exposure to pesticides than those without the disease.

Ultimately, the research suggests that while brain injuries and pesticides are individually associated with an increased risk of Parkinson's, the combination is associated with a greater threat of developing the disease.

If you were exposed to pesticides or suffered a brain injury in the past, you are at an increased risk of developing Parkinson's through no fault of your own. If you currently suffer from Parkinson's disease or suspect that you are at risk, contact an experienced personal injury attorney as you may be entitled to compensation.

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By: Max Health

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