Environmental Toxins Linked To Parkinson’s
New Studies Support Link Between Chemicals and Parkinson’s Disease
Researchers say the findings support evidence of a possible link between environmental toxins and Parkinson’s disease and may help explain why some people with genetic risk factors for the disease get it while others do not.
Parkinson’s disease is a common neurological disorder that can occur randomly or as the result of inherited gene mutations.
In the study, which appears in Current Biology, researchers looked at fruit flies lacking both forms of a gene that is associated with the inherited form of Parkinson’s disease. These specially bred fruit flies became extremely sensitive to the herbicide paraquat and the insecticide rotenone and died after exposure.
Very Very High Rates Of Mold Exposure In The Me/cfs Community
It turned out that the healthy controls were selected in part because theyd reported no prior exposures to water damaged buildings. That enabled the researchers to highlight the effect that type of exposure may have but made it impossible to be able to state that ME/CFS patients are more likely to be exposed to water-damaged/moldy buildings than healthy controls.
Several factors suggest the 93% rate of positive mycotoxin tests in ME/CFS may not be reflective of the general population.
- The authors defined water-damaged buildings broadly enough that many people must have been exposed to one. . They did note, though, that many of the ME/CFS patients had lived or worked in a building with visible mold an indication of a mold problem that went beyond a plugged up drain or a window leak).
- This study also emanated from a infectious disease specialist apparently with a focus in mold issues which means he may be gathering a distinct subset of mold exposed patients and this makes sense given the report that many of the study participants had lived/worked in buildings with visible mold.
- The most common type of water-based damage to residential dwellings occurs in basements and most of the participants came from the Midwest where basements/cellars are probably more common than in the western and southern states. People from these locations may be more likely to be exposed to high levels of mold.
To sum up.
What Causes Parkinsons Disease
Parkinsons disease is a chronic, progressive neurological disease that currently affects about 1 million Americans. Parkinsons disease involves a small, dark-tinged portion of the brain called the substantia nigra. This is where you produce most of the dopamine your brain uses. Dopamine is the chemical messenger that transmits messages between nerves that control muscle movements as well as those involved in the brains pleasure and reward centers. As we age, its normal for cells in the substantia nigra to die. This process happens in most people at a very slow rate.
But for some people, the loss happens rapidly, which is the start of Parkinsons disease. When 50 to 60 percent of the cells are gone, you begin to see the symptoms of Parkinsons.
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How You Lose Dopamine Production
Damaged nerve cells can be what results in a decreased ability of the brain to create dopamine. Generally, some kind of degradation of the brain cells will reduce dopamine production.
There is some genetic link to parkinsons disease. For example, specific genetic mutations can impact the dopamine production. Far more common is that exposure to something in the environment can impact the brain.
Genetic Forms Of Parkinsons Disease
Despite all this body of evidence, the relatively low incidence of PD suggests that the individual genetic background plays an important role in the pathogenesis of the disease. What are the genetic alterations that predispose to the development of PD and why?
Already a century ago it was noticed that PD patients had affected relatives . The role of genetic inheritance in PD has been increasingly important during the past couple of decades because of different studies. Despite the complexity of achieving good quality epidemiologic studies due to diagnostic difficulties, different studies have confirmed that PD is more common between family members . Generally, the risk of having the disease among relatives is 2 to 3 times greater than in the general population . Also, studies on homozygotic twins have shown that although there is no significant concordance in late onset disease cases , it becomes significant in early onset cases. Therefore, one could say that early PD is usually genetically determined.
Table 1 Known genetic mutations in PD
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What Causes Parkinsons Disease Endogenous Factors Definition
Due to the high consumption of oxygen and the high content of oxidizable substrates , metal ions , and catecholamines. As described in the first part, the neurons of the substantianigra or substantianigra are rich in dopamine. It should also be added that the brains antioxidant defenses are weak in fact, there is a low concentration of glutathione and vitamin E, and moreover. There is an almost absence of catalase . Therefore, these toxic lesions can accelerate the progressive loss of dopaminergic neurons at the nigra level.
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Despite the framework provided by the free radical theory. Among these, we recall cellular damage, which is based on dysfunction at the mitochondria level. In particular, at the level of the respiratory complex I. Some studies have shown that the respiratory chain activity in the brain of an individual suffering from the disease Parkinsons showed a 37% reduction in the activity of complex I, leaving the activities of complex II, III, and IV unchanged.
Toxic Substances That Have Been Linked To Parkinsons Disease
There are numerous environmental toxins that researchers have tied to the neurological disorders known as parkinson disease. Here are some that have been linked:
- Agent Orange This was a chemical defoliant used in Vietnam that is already tied to cancer. While there is no definitive link with Parkinsons, the VA at least believes that there is a possibility that the two are tied.
- Solvents Some studies have shown a link between Trichloroethylene, a substance contained in many solvents, and Parkinsons.
- PCBs polychlorinated biphenyls were extensively used in the 1970s. They have been often found in the brains of people who have suffered from Parkinsons.
- Pesticides and herbicides -substances such as insecticides, pesticides and herbicides contain chemicals that researchers have strongly linked with higher incidences of Parkinsons. One of the leading contributors is considered to be Paraquat. For information on Paraquat Parkinsons lawsuits, look here.
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What Causes Parkinsons Disease: Genetics
Looking at genetics instead, about Parkinsons disease, there is great interest in trying to find out which gene is responsible for the majority of cases of the disease. Studies of homozygous twin pairs were conducted between 1969 and 1983 by several groups of researchers. These independent research results revealed that genetic factors played a weak if not small role in the causes of what causes Parkinsons disease. In recent years, however, some genealogies have been described in which the disease is transmitted in an autosomal way.
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Mold Health Impact : Parkinsons Disease
A Parkinsons disease diagnosis often results in a feeling of hopelessness. One of Dr. Sponaugles patients, Amy however, did not give in to depression. Amy credits the onset of her illness to her exposure to high levels of black mold during her time spent assisting with humanitarian efforts in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. In just one month, Amy started to experience profound neurological interferences in her ability to walk. Eventually, Parkinsonian rigidity and episodic paralysis left her bedridden. After being unable to improve with the help of traditional Parkinsons medication and integrative approaches, Amy came to Sponaugle Wellness Institute. Receiving treatment at Sponaugle Wellness allowed Amys health to improve in ways she was unable to accomplish elsewhere. Learn more about her progression and treatment at Sponaugle Wellness in her VIDEO: Learn More About Amys Parkinsons Symptoms as a Result of Exposure to Black Mold
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Key Stats And Facts About Pd In The United States
10 Key Stats and Facts About PD In The United States
Specific Pesticides And Their Link To Pd
The evidence that pesticide use is associated with an increased risk in PD, begs the question are there specific pesticides that are most concerning? When data is collected on this topic in large populations, often the participants in the study are unaware of which specific pesticide exposures they have had. This makes it difficult to determine which pesticides to avoid.
Some studies however were able to investigate the risks of specific chemicals. A recent review summarized the current state of knowledge on this topic. The chemical with the most data linking it to an increased PD risk is paraquat, with exposure associated with a 2-3 fold increased PD risk over the general population.
One particularly comprehensive study investigated exposure to 31 pesticides and their association with PD risk. From that data emerged paraquat and rotenone as the two most concerning pesticides.
- Paraquats mechanism of action is the production of reactive oxygen species, intracellular molecules that cause oxidative stress and damage cells.
- Rotenones mechanism of action is disruption of the mitochondria, the component of the cell that creates energy for cell survival.
Interestingly, both mitochondrial dysfunction and oxidative stress are common themes in our general understanding of what causes death of nerve cells in PD.
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Better Parkinsons Disease Treatments
Why add alternative medicine for Parkinsons treatment?
Long term use of anti parkinsonian drugs have a wearing-offphenomenon. Not only that, but they cause additional psychomotor and autonomic complications.
“Shakes” are part of this long term effect of the medications!
- Unfortunately, the medication used as Parkinson disease treatments only work so long, and then they themselves cause tremors, or dyskinesia. This then makes life miserable.
Researchers are now looking to prevent cell damage, and to protect the cells that make dopamine – to help them re-generate and to keep them healthy.
Many environmental toxins lead to Parkinsons. Pesticides and metals such as iron and manganese are neuro-toxins. These neuro toxins can cause cell death.
So what have they found so far that can help best?
Fortunately, scientists have studied the neuroprotective effects of manysubstances
Some things may be easy!
- It has been known from large scale population studies, that drinking coffee reduces both the risk of Parkinson’s disease as well as Alzheimers.
So, they asked, is there something in coffee that is neuro-protective? If so, what is it, and how does it work?
The Ghosts Of Pesticides Past
Over the past half century, we have begun to identify the worst risks and address them. The insecticide DDT was once considered a miracle compound. In the 1930s, the Swiss chemist Paul Hermann Müller was looking for a chemical that could kill insects that were destroying crops and spreading diseasewithout harming the plants. Müller, a nature lover, tested hundreds of chemicals before coating the inside of a glass box with DDT, a colorless, tasteless, and almost odorless nerve toxin. He placed houseflies into the container, and they bit the dust. Müller had found his answer.
In the 1940s DDT was considered harmless to humans and regularly sprayed on neighborhoods here children play in the sprays at the beach in New York. Even though DDT was banned half a century ago, it persists in the environmentand in our food supply. It becomes more concentrated as it makes its way up the chain to human consumption. The pesticide is then stored in fatty tissues, including the brain. DDT has been linked to Parkinsons disease. Because of the widespread use of the pesticide, DDT and its breakdown products are detectable in nearly everyone in the United States. It has also been found in the breast milk of women living in Spain, Nicaragua, Taiwan, and the Spanish Canary Islands as recently as 2014.
Pictorial Press Ltd/Alamy Stock Photo
We eat fruits, vegetables, nuts, and grains every day that have been doused in pesticides. What kind of risk are we all exposed to? We do not know.
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Lack Of Exercise/physical Activities
The idea that exercise might have a role in Parkinsons disease is not new. Researchers have been trying to find a connection between Parkinsons and exercise for many years. They think that those who do regular exercise are less likely affected by the disease than those who dont.
A study published in the Journal of Neurology suggests that higher levels of physical activity may reduce the risk of developing Parkinsons disease. In this study, 125,828 provided information on physical activity in early adulthood. During the follow-up, a total of 387 Parkinsons cases were identified. The study found that the people who didnt develop the disease were mostly involved in some sort of higher levels of physical activity.
Similarly, one meta-analysis that included data from 8 prospective studies has concluded that moderate to vigorous physical activity may have an inverse relationship with a risk of Parkinsons.
Although it is not known how exercise could protect someone from developing Parkinsons, researchers think that it may inhibit abnormal changes in dopamine neurons and contribute to the healthy functioning of brain parts involved in body movement.
We Help Veterans Obtain Benefits Due To Environmental Exposure That Had A Devastating Impact On Their Health
Our team of experts has extensive knowledge of the current laws which allows us to position veteran’s claims for success.
For example, Marine veteran Dean W. is a 71-year-old man who developed Parkinson’s disease years after being stationed at Camp Lejeune. He spent 3 months at the base. Mr. Dean has tried to make claims for help before with the VA, but every claim was denied.
This story could be about anyone who was on that site between Aug. 1, 1953, and Dec. 31, 1987. Parkinson’s disease is just one of the illnesses associated with exposure to the military bases poisoned wells.
Following our assistance, Mr. Dean obtained disability benefits that had previously been denied. If you are a veteran who is having difficulty obtaining benefits, Atraxia Law may be able to help you.
From the 1950s to the mid-1980s, thousands of service members and their families were exposed to contaminated water on military installations. In order to qualify for presumptive disability benefits, you must:
- be a veteran, reservist, or National Guard member who was discharged under other than dishonorable conditions
- have served on a targeted base, for at least 30 days , between August 1, 1953, and December 31, 1987
- have a current disease on the list of presumptive conditions, such as Parkinson’s disease.
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The Danger Of Paraquat Today
The United States banned DDT, Agent Orange, and heptachlor in the 1970s and 1980s. However, the United States has not banned all pesticides linked to Parkinsons. The one with perhaps the strongest link to the disease is still in widespread use: paraquat.
The United States has not banned all pesticides linked to Parkinsons. The one with perhaps the strongest link to the disease is still in widespread use: paraquat.
Paraquat has been used as a pesticide since the 1950s and is marketed as an alternative to the worlds most popular weed killer, glyphosate, more commonly known as Roundup. Paraquat takes care of weeds that not even Roundup can kill. Today, it is used on farm fields across the United States, and its use continues to increase. The pesticides primary uses are for corn, soybeans, wheat, cotton, and grapes.
Portraits of several Parkinsons patients show the many faces of people with the diagnosis. It affects people from all walks of life.
In the laboratory, paraquat reproduces the features of Parkinsons disease. In a 1999 study in Brain Research, A. I. Brooks of the University of Rochester and colleagues gave paraquat to mice, and their activity decreased. Paraquat also killed dopamine-producing nerve cells in the rodents substantia nigras. The greater the amount of paraquat administered, the greater the number of nerve cells lost.
Table adapted from: www.panna.org.
Figure adapted from R. Dorsey et al., 2020.
Rural Living And An Increased Risk Of Pd
In the 1980s, studies were conducted that showed that early-age exposure to a rural environment as well as exposure to well water were associated with development of PD later in life. Subsequently, multiple additional studies looked at these questions. The studies are mixed in their conclusions, but overall the evidence supports associations between increased PD risk with each of the following:
- farming as an occupation,
- well water drinking, and
- living in a rural area.
Of course, all these categories are inter-related, since farmers live on farms in rural areas, are exposed to farm animals, are more likely than urban dwellers to drink well water and use pesticides. The studies were attempting to tease out why rural environments increased the risk of PD. Do only those who actually farm have an increased risk or is it enough to live on a farm? Is pesticide exposure the reason for the increased risk? Well water exposure? Exposure to farm animals? Or is it another element of rural life?
In the end, epidemiologic data supports the assertion that each of these elements increases the risk of PD. Of note, all of the increased risks in these studies are small on the order of 1.5-2 times the risk of the general population.
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