US researchers to investigate link between pesticides and Parkinson’s disease
October 23, 2008
Dr Marie-Francoise Chesselet of the University of California has been awarded a research grant of $6.5 million (£4 million) to evaluate how environmental factors such as the exposure to agricultural pesticides may increase a person’s risk of developing the disease.
The scientist’s colleague Dr Beate Ritz is said to have demonstrated such a link in earlier studies – so the team will now seek the reasons for it.
Dr Chasselet commented: “We want to identify how agricultural pesticides disrupt molecular pathways, leading to the death of dopaminergic brain cells, which regulate essential brain functions.
“Their demise sets off a chain of events that leads to Parkinson’s symptoms.”
Findings from a separate US study released earlier this month suggested that a lack of vitamin D may be associated with a higher risk of Parkinson’s disease.
Researchers at Emory University School of Medicine said more than half of Parkinson’s patients in their study were found to have insufficient levels of the vitamin.