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Chemicals That Cause Parkinson’s

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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What Else Do We Know

As scientists try to learn whats at the root of Parkinsons, theyre looking far and wide to pick up clues where they can.

Theyve found that people with Parkinsons 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 theyre found in parts of the brain that affect sleep and sense of smell, which could explain some symptoms of Parkinsons 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 Parkinsons show up, but that idea needs more research.

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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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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.

Robert Dein

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:

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

Medicines For Parkinsons Disease

Methamphetamine abuse linked to Parkinson

Medicines can help treat the symptoms of Parkinsons by:

  • Increasing the level of dopamine in the brain
  • Having an effect on other brain chemicals, such as neurotransmitters, which transfer information between brain cells
  • Helping control non-movement symptoms

The main therapy for Parkinsons is levodopa. Nerve cells use levodopa to make dopamine to replenish the brains dwindling supply. Usually, people take levodopa along with another medication called carbidopa. Carbidopa prevents or reduces some of the side effects of levodopa therapy such as nausea, vomiting, low blood pressure, and restlessness and reduces the amount of levodopa needed to improve symptoms.

People living with Parkinsons disease should never stop taking levodopa without telling their doctor. Suddenly stopping the drug may have serious side effects, like being unable to move or having difficulty breathing.

The doctor may prescribe other medicines to treat Parkinsons symptoms, including:

  • Dopamine agonists to stimulate the production of dopamine in the brain
  • Enzyme inhibitors to increase the amount of dopamine by slowing down the enzymes that break down dopamine in the brain
  • Amantadine to help reduce involuntary movements
  • Anticholinergic drugs to reduce tremors and muscle rigidity

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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.

Treatment: Boosting Dopamines Effects

Your doctor might give you one of these, alone or with another drug:

  • Dopamine agonists: They act like dopamine but donĂ¢t raise levels of it in your brain. You can take them with any drug that has levodopa. You might try pramipexole or ropinirole .
  • COMT Inhibitors: They help levodopa last longer. You might get entacapone or tolcapone .
  • MAO-B inhibitors: These stop your brain from breaking down levodopa. You could get selegiline or rasagiline .

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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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Parkinsons Disease: Causes Symptoms And Treatments

Parkinson’s Disease (Shaking Palsy) – Clinical Presentation and Pathophysiology

Parkinsons disease is a brain disorder that causes unintended or uncontrollable movements, such as shaking, stiffness, and difficulty with balance and coordination.

Symptoms usually begin gradually and worsen over time. As the disease progresses, people may have difficulty walking and talking. They may also have mental and behavioral changes, sleep problems, depression, memory difficulties, and fatigue.

While virtually anyone could be at risk for developing Parkinsons, some research studies suggest this disease affects more men than women. Its unclear why, but studies are underway to understand factors that may increase a persons risk. One clear risk is age: Although most people with Parkinsons first develop the disease after age 60, about 5% to 10% experience onset before the age of 50. Early-onset forms of Parkinsons are often, but not always, inherited, and some forms have been linked to specific gene mutations.

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Household Chemicals Linked To Parkinsons

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 Parkinsons 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, Parkinsons 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 Parkinsons 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.

How Can We Prevent Exposure To Trichloroethylene

A straightforward way to avoid exposure is using activated carbon filtration water devices which can help significantly reduce TCE chemicals in drinking water. For better protection, its better to have the entire house on a filtration system as activities like bathing or inhaling vapors from toxic soil or groundwater is very difficult to avoid. Policymakers and doctors around the world are asking for more effective government involvement in testing, proactive monitoring, and remediation of TCE-contaminated sites. Raising awareness of Trichloroethylene will also help many people avoid potentially fatal practices. Failure to address this issue will continue to make matters worse and negatively affect millions of peoples health.

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Do Chemicals Cause Parkinsons Disease

Short answer: The best available scientific evidence suggests that a few chemicals, including some pesticides, increase risk of Parkinsons disease, but only a small fraction of cases are believed to be caused by any sort of environmental exposure.

Longer answer: The first chemical demonstrated to cause Parkinsons disease is MPTP, as discussed here and in the fascinating book, The Case of the Frozen Addicts. MPTP, or more precisely its metabolite MPP+, is an exceptionally potent toxin that selectively kills dopaminergic neurons by poisoning their mitochondria. This is not a case of slightly increased risk it quickly and irreversibly causes symptoms essentially indistinguishable from idiopathic Parkinsons disease.



It is highly unlikely that you will come in contact with these molecules at the present time. Rather alarmingly, however, in the 1970s, MPP+ was apparently developed, and field tested, as a herbicide under the name Cyperquat, by Gulf Oil Chemicals Company .

Of much greater concern are widely used pesticides, which have been demonstrated to increase risk of Parkinsons disease with varying strengths of evidence. Some of the strongest evidence is for rotenone, thousands of tons of which have been used to kill unwanted fish and various agricultural pests it has even been used to kill head lice on humans.


Another pesticide worth highlighting is paraquat, due to its chemical similarity to MPP+.


Changes In Cognition And Parkinsons Disease


Some people with Parkinsons may experience changes in their cognitive function, including problems with memory, attention, and the ability to plan and accomplish tasks. Stress, depression, and some medications may also contribute to these changes in cognition.

Over time, as the disease progresses, some people may develop dementia and be diagnosed with Parkinsons dementia, a type of Lewy body dementia. People with Parkinsons dementia may have severe memory and thinking problems that affect daily living.

Talk with your doctor if you or a loved one is diagnosed with Parkinsons disease and is experiencing problems with thinking or memory.

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Chemicals Used To Create Pd Model

To clarify the pathophysiological process of PD and to evaluate the efficiency of PD-targeted medicines, sophisticated models have been developed that use a panel of chemicals to reproduce and imitate the neurodegeneration process of PD. We introduce four chemicals that were applied to create the PD model for their capability to cause PD-like neuron impairments and symptoms . The ability of these chemicals to induce ferroptosis will also be discussed with special attention paid to their effects in SH-SY5Y human neuroblastoma cells since these cells possess properties of dopaminergic neurons, and, therefore, have a long history of use as an in vitro model in studies on PD . Early studies using SH-SY5Y cells as an in vitro model of chemically-induced PD showed that apoptosis is the main mode of cell death induced by PQ , rotenone , 6-OHDA , and MPP+ . This might be, at least in part, to the fact that apoptosis was the only mode of cell death that could be examined using marker proteins as well as electron and fluorescence microscopy when the studies were performed. However, recent research progress has shown that SH-SY5Y cell death due to PD-inducing chemicals involves forms of cell death other than apoptosis.

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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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.

Lawsuits Allege Parkinsons Disease Caused By Chemical Exposure

Cannabis and Parkinson’s Disease

The emerging evidence showing that exposure to certain chemicals can lead to Parkinsons disease is at the center of 2 major class action lawsuits that are currently ongoing.

Camp Lejeune Parkinsons Disease Lawsuits

Camp Lejeune is a military base in North Carolina. For decades, the water supply at Lejeune was contaminated with TCE and other solvents. Public health studies were done to examine the impact that this contaminated water had on the health of Lejeune residents and employees.

In 2017, the Veterans Administration identified a list of diseases and health conditions that could be presumptively linked to the contaminated water at Camp Lejeune. One of the presumptive Camp Lejeune diseases on this list was Parkinsons disease.

In August 2022, Congress passed a new law that gave victims of the Camp Lejeune water contamination the ability to bring civil lawsuits and seek compensation for their injuries. Thousands of former Camp Lejeune residents and employees who were subsequently diagnosed with Parkinsons disease are now bringing Camp Lejeune Parkinsons disease lawsuits under the new law. Since Parkinsons was one of the diseases that the VA listed as presumptively connected to Camp Lejeune, causation in these cases will be simple to prove.

Paraquat Parkinsons Disease Lawsuits

Contact Us About a Parkinsons Disease Lawsuit

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