Thursday, May 23, 2024

Chemicals Linked To Parkinson’s Disease

Paraquat Linked To Parkinsons

Is Parkinson’s disease related to pesticide use? | DW Documentary

A 2013 study from UCLA confirmed that exposure to the herbicide Paraquat is linked with a heightened risk of Parkinsons disease. This combines with other research finding that herbicides and pesticides increase the risk of Parkinsons.

The researchers, from UCLAs Fielding School of Public Health, studied 357 Parkinsons disease cases along with 754 control subjects adults from Central California. The researchers determined increased exposure to the herbicide Paraquat through geographic mapping of their home addresses, together with agricultural use of the chemical on nearby farms. The research found that those living closer to farms that sprayed the herbicide were found to have a 36% increased risk of Parkinsons.

However, those who experienced a head injury combined with increased Paraquat exposure tripled their chances of having Parkinsons disease.

Researchers from Mexicos Unidad de Medicina Familiar also studied cases of Parkinsons together with exposure to the herbicide Paraquat among Mexican workers. They also found a positive association between exposure to this chemical and Parkinsons disease.

Paraquat is N,N-dimethyl-4,4-bipyridinium dichloride.

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Environmental Factors In Parkinsons Disease

Here are environmental factors that may play a role in the development of Parkinsons disease:

Although environmental exposure to these and other toxins is of continued research interest, its hard to determine if any one substance is a culprit. Most often, individual cases of Parkinsons disease result from a complex interplay between genetics and environmental and other factors.

Targeting Parkinsons-Linked Protein Could Neutralize 2 of the Diseases Causes

Researchers report they have discovered how two problem proteins known to cause Parkinsons disease are chemically linked, suggesting that someday, both could be neutralized by a single drug designed to target the link.

Industrial Cleaner Linked To Increased Risk Of Parkinsons Disease

The American Academy of Neurology, an association of more than 22,000 neurologists and neuroscience professionals, is dedicated to promoting the highest quality patient-centered neurologic care. A neurologist is a doctor with specialized training in diagnosing, treating and managing disorders of the brain and nervous system such as Parkinsons disease, ALS , dementia, epilepsy, and migraine. For more information about the American Academy of Neurology and the AAN Annual Meeting, visit

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Importance Of Parkinson’s Advocacy

Not to be all doom and gloom. This is a serious issue that affects a lot of people with PD and other diseases including myself. Personally, I feel that scientific research is closing in on certain causes for developing PD and the acknowledgment by our government agencies.

I encourage you to be your own advocate. Stand up for your rights to a healthy environment and ask questions of those that include positions of influence and demand answers. Although these are two examples of recognized links to PD, I realize there are other case studies of intentional or unintentional toxic contamination of our environment. If we take action today, we can make the future better for our children and grandchildren.

Synthetic Heroin And Parkinsonism


In 1983, several cases prompted researchers to think about whether toxicants could cause Parkinsons disease. A 39-year-old man in California presented to an emergency room with visual hallucinations, jerking of limbs, generalized slowing, and difficulty walking. He had no prior medical history, neurologic history, or family history of neurologic disease. At around the same time, a woman and two men from the same area developed young-onset subacute parkinsonism. James Tetrud, MD, and J. William Langston, MD, the neurologists who examined these patients, learned that they were all IV narcotic addicts. Between two and six weeks before presentation, the patients had injected a synthetic heroin that they had obtained from the same supplier. The toxicant in the synthetic heroin that had induced the parkinsonism was identified as 1-methyl-4-phenyl-1,2,5,6-tetrahydropyridine . All of these patients responded to levodopa.

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Household Chemicals Linked To Parkinson’s

Susan Lumsden

The crippling disease which has struck down screen star Michael J Fox

and boxing legend Muhammad Ali could be caused by exposure to chemicals at

home or work.

Scientists fear household paint, varnishes and garden sprays might be

responsible for Parkinson’s disease.

They are at the centre of a study to investigate the links

between these common items and the distressing illness.

Most prevalent in the elderly, Parkinson’s is a disease of the brain which

It affects about two in every 1,000 of the population and the chances of

becoming a victim of it increase after the age of 50. It is characterised by

the shuffling gait and blank expression which are nowadays associated with

Muhammad Ali.

The Aberdeen based researchers hope that at the end of the three-year project

they will have found ways of preventing a significant number of cases.

Professor Anthony Seaton of Aberdeen University said yesterday that if

everyday items are found to be causing cases of Parkinson’s then the public

has a right to be warned.

‘Some people do a lot of DIY. If they are risk factors then clearly people

their research will look at links between genetic and environmental factors.

He said: ‘We are looking at chemicals that are known to affect the brain and

that would include solvents such as paints, varnishes and glues, and

organo-phosphates such as insecticides.

‘These are things that can be found in the home or in industry.

these chemicals are as a risk factor.

not likely to be a problem.

Chemical Properties And Distribution

PQ is a member of a chemical class known as bipyridyl derivatives, which includes diquat and cyperquat that has the same structure as the MPTP metabolite MPP+ . One-electron reduction of PQ, , , probably underlies its toxic effects in the lung after accidental ingestion. Reduced PQ is then rapidly re-oxidized to its cation form by molecular oxygen with the formation of superoxide radicals in a classical redox-cycling reaction.

Because PQ is highly polar, it is poorly absorbed from the gastrointestinal tract. Over 50% of a single dose administered to rats localizes to the gut at some 32h after administration and only approximately 5 to 10% of an ingested dose is absorbed, although the presence of emulsifiers and/or co-solvents may enhance absorption. Excretion occurs in urine and faeces with approximately 45% of a single dose being excreted after 48h in rats. Because of these properties and some early evidence that PQ is largely excluded from the brain, it has been assumed that PQ would not cross the blood-brain barrier to a significant extent. After a single administration, most of the PQ that reaches the brain is apparently associated with structures outside the BBB or with three areas of the brain: the anterior portion of the olfactory bulb, the hypothalamus and the area postrema, which do not have a tight BBB.

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Does Trichloroethylene Cause Cancer

Trichloroethylene is classified as a carcinogen and cancer of the cervix, non-Hodgkin lymphoma, autoimmune diseases, cholangiocarcinomas, renal cell carcinoma, lung cancer, and cancer lymphatic system, male breast tissue cancer, fetal cardiac defects, and lead to mitochondrial dysfunction. The direct relationship to developing Parkinsons has been overlooked because exposure to TCE can happen decades before it manifests itself and cancer. While some exposed patients can show symptoms immediately, most others may unknowingly live or work in contaminated areas for most of their adult lives before developing any symptoms related to Parkinsons disease.

Patients living in sites already known to be contaminated with hazardous materials such as TCE are especially at high risk of exposure. Some countries such as Canada already heavily regulate TCE, and the chemical is also banned in the EU without special permits. It is estimated that over 1 Billion pounds of toxic chemicals are still used annually around the world. In 2018, more than 120 Million pounds of TCE were released into the environment, mainly from industrial sites, which contaminate soil, water, and air. It is estimated that trichloroethylene products can be found in over 25% of groundwater in developed nations, with that number possibly doubling for developing nations.

Environmental Toxins And Parkinsons Disease

Pesticide linked to Parkinson’s disease

Parkinsons disease is said to be because of the loss of dopamine-releasing nerve cells in a small, central part of the brain called the substantia nigra. The substantia nigra produces dopamine, which helps coordinate movement in our body.

But when nigral nerve cells are impaired, less dopamine is released and motor function is affected. And thats when hallmark Parkinsons symptoms including tremors, difficulty balancing, and slowed movement start to set in.

Several studies have suggested that environmental toxicants including pesticides, herbicides, and other pollutants are linked to an increased risk of developing Parkinsons disease.

Heres how these chemicals are said to play a role in the development of the neurological disorder:

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The Rise Of Parkinson’s Disease

Neurological disorders are the worlds leading cause of disability. And the fastest growing of these conditions is not Alzheimers but Parkinsons disease.

  • The number of people with Parkinsons disease more than doubled from 1990 to 2015 and could double again by 2040. An aging population alone does not account for this rise.
  • Air pollution, metal production, certain industrial chemicals, and some synthetic pesticides are linked to Parkinsons. Yet we are doing little to manage known risk factors.
  • The authors contend that the United States should ban trichloroethylene, paraquat, and other chemicals linked to Parkinsons, which many other countries have already done.

From 1990 to 2015, the number of people living with Parkinsons more than doubled from 2.6 million to 6.3 million, according to a 2015 study in Lancet Neurology. By 2040, the number is projected to double again to at least 12.9 million, a stunning rise .

The number of people with Parkinsons disease more than doubled between 1990 and 2015 and is projected to double again by 2040.

Figure adapted from E. R. Dorsey and B. R. Bloem, 2018.

Figure adapted from R. Dorsey et al., 2020.

The number of people who succumb to Parkinsons each year has been increasing steadily.

Data from: U.S. National Center for Health Statistics, National Vital Statistics System, Mortality Data.

Christophe Vander Eecken / Reporters / Science Source

One Of The First Studies To Look At Human Cells

The researchers used stem cells from patients with Parkinsons disease who had a mutation in the gene responsible for encoding the -synuclein protein.

At least 30 alterations in this gene have been associated with Parkinsons, and -synuclein protein clumps are a well-documented, albeit poorly understood, hallmark of the disease.

For the new research, the scientists also worked with normal embryonic cells that they modified using genetic editing to replicate the -synuclein genetic mutation.

Prof. Ryan explains why using human cells makes this study particularly valuable. Until now, he says, the link between pesticides and Parkinsons disease was based primarily on animal studies as well as epidemiological research that demonstrated an increased risk among farmers and others exposed to agricultural chemicals.

We are one of the first to investigate what is happening inside human cells, explains Prof. Ryan.

Stem cells are undifferentiated cells that go on to individualize into specific types of cells. Prof. Ryan and his colleagues used the two types of stem cells to derive dopamine-producing nerve cells from them.

Then, they exposed these dopaminergic neurons which are known to be affected the most by Parkinsons disease to the two pesticides.

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How Does Environment Come Into It

Your environment is a hard one to pin down. Partly, that’s because it covers a lot of ground. It’s everything that’s not your genes, which could mean where you live, what you eat, chemicals you’ve come into contact with, and more.

Not only that, but it could take years for the effects from something in your environment to show up. So far, doctors have a lot of clues but no smoking gun. So you could have people who live or work in an area around chemicals tied to Parkinson’s, but many of them don’t get it.

Some research shows links between Parkinson’s and:

  • Agent Orange, a chemical used to destroy trees and crops in the Vietnam War.
  • Certain chemicals used in farming, such as insecticides, herbicides, and fungicides.
  • Some metals and chemicals used in factories, such as manganese, lead, and trichlorethylene .

These can come into play based on where you live, what you do for work, or if you served in the military. Sometimes, these chemicals seep into well water, so that’s one more way they can affect you.

Parkinsons Disease And Covid


Many people in the disease community have wondered: how will COVID-19 impact my treatment and condition? In this case, Bloem notes that patients with Parkinsons disease are not any more likely to contract COVID-19 than anyone else. However, he does believe that patients who get COVID-19 are more likely to experience severe symptoms. Parkinsons symptoms can become less severe with exercise and physical activity, or more severe due to stress. In a co-authored article, Bloem explains that:

Non-motor issues such as insomnia or constipation may also worsen due to a lack of physical activity. Promoting home-based and adequately dosed exercises, such as cycling on a stationary bicycle, is therefore more important than ever before.

However, he hopes that this pandemic shows people that more research needs to be done on Parkinsons disease, and that more data needs to be discovered on the impact of these situations on patients. Read the full article in Journal of Parkinsons Disease.

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Chemical That Triggers Parkinson’s Disease Discovered

Saint Louis University
The key brain chemical that causes Parkinson’s disease has been discovered. This is a breakthrough finding that could pave the way for new, far more effective therapies to treat one of the most common and debilitating neurological disorders.

Researchers at the Saint Louis University School of Medicine have discovered the key brain chemical that causes Parkinson’s disease – a breakthrough finding that could pave the way for new, far more effective therapies to treat one of the most common and debilitating neurological disorders.

Currently, the main approach for treating Parkinson’s disease, which afflicts more than 1.5 million Americans, is to replace dopamine that’s lost when the cells that produce it die off and cause the disorder. With this new research, however, scientists can better work toward ‘neuroprotective’ therapies – those that actually block dopamine cells from dying off in the first place.

“We believe this work represents a very significant breakthrough in understanding the complicated chemical process that results in Parkinson’s disease,” said William J. Burke, M.D., Ph.D., professor of neurology at the Saint Louis University School of Medicine and the study’s lead author.

“For the first time, we’ve identified the chemical that triggers the events in the brain that cause this disorder,” Burke added. “We believe these findings can be used to develop therapies that can actually stop or slow this process.”

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What Is Trichloroethylene Used In

Trichloroethylene is used in several industries. It is mostly used as a solvent to remove grease from metal such as auto parts, but it may also be an ingredient in:

  • furniture cleaners
  • computer part cleaners
  • adhesives

TCE, however, does not only affect those people who come into contact with it, as it has been shown to persist in the environment for over a year.

Unsuspecting victims may not even realize that they have been exposed to the substance, as it can also contaminate groundwater and soil, and even well water that people drink.

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What Else Do We Know

As scientists try to learn what’s at the root of Parkinson’s, they’re looking far and wide to pick up clues where they can.

They’ve found that people with Parkinson’s tend to have something called Lewy bodies in their brain. These are unusual clumps of a protein called alpha-synuclein. The protein itself is normal, but the clumps are not. And they’re found in parts of the brain that affect sleep and sense of smell, which could explain some symptoms of Parkinson’s not related to movement.

Your gut may also have a part in it, as some of its cells make dopamine, too. Some doctors think that this might be where the earliest signs of Parkinson’s show up, but that idea needs more research.

Show Sources

Metal Elements And Pesticides As Risk Factors For Parkinson’s Disease

Commercial Herbicides Linked To Parkinson’s Disease

Common miRNA association between Parkinson’s Disease and pesticides exist.

Pesticide-deregulated miRNAs affect PD-related molecules, e.g. -synuclein.

There exist an association between essential, non-essential metals and PD.

UPS and mitochondrial impairment, oxidative stress, gene mutation and -Syn aggregation are prime mechanisms involved in essential, non-essential metals neurotoxicity in PD.

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What Herbicide Is Linked To Parkinsons

Parkinsons disease is caused by the loss of dopamine-releasing nerve cells in the part of the brain called substantia nigra. Dopamine helps coordinate movement in the body.

So when these nerve cells are impaired, our motor function is affected. Thats when hallmark Parkinsons disease symptoms including difficulty balancing, tremors, and slowed movement start to set in.

But aside from biological and genetic factors, research has shown that environmental exposure to toxicants such as pesticides, pollutants, and herbicides may also trigger Parkinsons disease.

In fact, aside from trichloroethylene, several environmental factors have also been associated with the development of the disease.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention , the popular herbicide known as Paraquat is a highly toxic substance which can put people at risk for severe poisoning in case of exposure.

Research has also suggested that people exposed to this herbicide may develop Parkinsons disease. In fact, the first Paraquat lawsuit back in 2017 was filed in behalf of agricultural workers and farmers who subsequently developed Parkinsons after occupational exposure to the substance.

The potentially harmful herbicide has since been banned in more than 50 countries, including China, Thailand, the United Kingdom, and other European Union nations. However, to this day, it is still widely used by farmers as a weed killer in the United States.

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