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.’s/376/2410


One Response to “US researchers to investigate link between pesticides and Parkinson’s disease”

  1. Zeke Jabbour Says:

    A friend sent me this article and asked if I was interested. I sent the following reply.–ZJ

    Thanks Lou. I am, indeed, interested.
    Parkinson’s is basically a post-industrial-revolution disease, which, in addition to the obvious role of extended life-spans, suggests that environmental factors probably played a leading role in its emergence.

    In my view, pesticides have always been suspect, so I welcome this study. I moved from Michigan to Florida in 1990 at the age of 62. Florida, especially affluent Florida (e.g. Boca Raton), is awash with pesticides. Our homes and lawns are bathed in them with regularity. I have asked the men who do the work if there have been studies which addressed the consequences of their daily exposure and they do not know of any. They believe it to be safe work.

    I first noticed PD symptoms at the age of 68 and I was diagnosed two years later. Now I’m 80 and still competing in bridge at national and world levels and still shoot hoops, on occasion, in the hood. I was raised in Youngstown O. and grew up in the polluted atmosphere of a steel town. While in college, I worked summers in the mills. Judging from my fan mail, there is anecdotal testimony that Youngstown has a disproportionate number of Parkinson cases. At two periods iny life I was exposed to asbestos with no obvious deleterious effects–but who knows.

    I think I’ll paste this note in the reply window of that article. I would be pleased if they kept me posted. If it’s, say, a 20 year study, I’ll only be a hundred at completion and maybe they’ll have enough info to help me. Thanks for sending the article.
    Cheers, Zeke

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