NWPF

News ArchivesRead News

Pesticides exposure associated with Parkinson’s disease

Wednesday December 27, 2006

12/27/06(Harvard School of Public Health) - In the first large-scale, prospective study to examine possible links between chronic, low-dose exposure to pesticides and Parkinson’s disease ( PD ), researchers at the Harvard School of Public Health ( HSPH ) have shown that individuals reporting exposure to pesticides had a 70 percent higher incidence of Parkinson’s disease than those not reporting exposure. No increased risk of Parkinson’s disease was found from reported exposure to other occupational hazards, including asbestos, coal or stone dust, chemicals, acids, or solvents.

The study is published in the Annals of Neurology.

Previous studies had suggested a link between Parkinson’s disease and low-level exposure to pesticides, though the data remains inconclusive. The researchers, led by Alberto Ascherio, at HSPH, looked at data from the Cancer Prevention Study II Nutrition Cohort, a prospective study begun in 1992 by the American Cancer Society. Some 143,325 participants who responded to a follow-up survey in 2001 were included in the HSPH study. Researchers then contacted those individuals in the 2001 survey who reported a diagnosis of Parkinson’s disease to ask if their medical records could be reviewed to confirm the diagnosis. Ultimately, Ascherio and his colleagues included in their study a total of 413 cases of Parkinson’s disease with onset of symptoms and diagnosis after 1992.

The researchers used exposure data collected in 1982 from the CPS II mortality study, a study from which the Nutrition Cohort was drawn. Exposure to pesticides was reported by 5,203 men ( 8.2 percent ) and 2,661 women ( 3.3 percent ). Among those reporting exposure, after adjusting for age, sex, and other risk factors for Parkinson’s disease, there was a 70 percent higher incidence of Parkinson’s disease than among people who reported no exposure. Those reporting exposure were more likely to be male than female to report their occupation as farmer, rancher or fisherman and to be blue-collar workers, but none of these factors could account for the increased risk of Parkinson’s disease, which was similar in men or women, and in non-farmers as well as farmers. The significant association between pesticide exposure and Parkinson’s disease among individuals who are not farmers is most likely explained by use of pesticides at home or in gardening.

Future studies will need to examine which specific pesticides or classes of pesticides are likely to cause Parkinson’s disease.

Recent News

Jul 24 - Parkinson's: Mutant gene interaction may pave the way for new treatments
Jul 22 - Boxing training used to fight against Parkinson's disease
Jul 17 - Stem cell treatment breakthrough could cure Parkinson’s patients
Jul 14 - Cancer drug shows early promise for Parkinson's disease
Jul 13 - Opinion: Dividing the Caregiving Responsibilities Between Siblings
Jul 12 - Researchers make advance in possible treatments for Gaucher, Parkinson’s diseases
Jul 11 - Parkinson’s Head Trauma Link Looks Even Stronger
Jul 7 - Penn students’ start-up XEED puts wearables to work against Parkinson’s disease
Jul 5 - Last Patient Enrolled in Pivotal Phase 3 Parkinson’s Disease Trial, Cynapsus Therapeutics Says
Jun 29 - Exoskeleton Could Quell the Tremors of Parkinson's Disease Patients at Crucial Moments
Jun 28 - Parkinson's disease: New protein discovery could fuel new treatments
Jun 27 - Study finds direct evidence linking Parkinson’s to autoimmune disease; 2 genes that are key regulators of immune system discovered
Jun 27 - Blocking key enzyme halts parkinson's disease symptoms in mice
Jun 23 - Parkinson's Research Might Benefit from Novel Discovery of Zinc Transport Protein Structure
Jun 23 - Parkinson's disease breakthrough 'could lead to cure'
Jun 20 - More American men diagnosed with Parkinson's
Jun 15 - First monkey genetically engineered to have Parkinson’s created
Jun 14 - Fighting Parkinson's in the lab
Jun 9 - A New Gene Has Been Linked to Parkinson's Disease
Jun 6 - A neurologist weighs in on Muhammad Ali's battle with Parkinson's disease