What Is Parkinsons Disease
Parkinsons disease is a neurodegenerative disorder in which nerve cells in a part of the brain called the substantia nigra dont produce enough of the neurotransmitter dopamine, according to the Parkinsons Foundation. Not having enough dopamine is what causes the movement symptoms that distinguish Parkinsons disease, including tremors, limb rigidity, and gait problems.
Although it is a movement disorder, Parkinsons disease can bring about non-movement symptoms that include cognitive impairment, depression, sleep disorders, and constipation, according to the Parkinsons Foundation.
Parkinsons disease is a progressive disorder. This means the disease gets worse over time. Although Parkinsons disease is incurable, its symptoms are treatable. Data from some clinical research trials suggest that there is hope to slow Parkinsons disease progression through early intervention, although theres not enough data to conclusively demonstrate that this is possible, according to The American Journal of Managed Care.
The Link Between Parkinsons Disease And Toxic Chemicals
A new book calls the increasing prominence of Parkinsons a man-made pandemic.
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Michael Richard Clifford, a 66-year-old retired astronaut living in Cary, N.C., learned before his third spaceflight that he had Parkinsons disease. He was only 44 and in excellent health at the time, and had no family history of this disabling neurological disorder.
What he did have was years of exposure to numerous toxic chemicals, several of which have since been shown in animal studies to cause the kind of brain damage and symptoms that afflict people with Parkinsons.
As a youngster, Mr. Clifford said, he worked in a gas station using degreasers to clean car engines. He also worked on a farm where he used pesticides and in fields where DDT was sprayed. Then, as an aviator, he cleaned engines readying them for test flights. But at none of these jobs was he protected from exposure to hazardous chemicals that are readily inhaled or absorbed through the skin.
Now Mr. Clifford, a lifelong nonsmoker, believes that his close contact with these various substances explains why he developed Parkinsons disease at such a young age. Several of the chemicals have strong links to Parkinsons, and a growing body of evidence suggests that exposure to them may very well account for the dramatic rise in the diagnosis of Parkinsons in recent decades.
Sometimes, though, the links are so strong and the evidence so compelling that there can be little doubt that one causes the other.
When To Seek Medical Treatment
If you are exhibiting some of the symptoms mentioned above, you need to schedule an appointment with your physician as soon as possible. To diagnose the disease, your physician will ask you about your medical history, your familys medical history, current symptoms, and if you have possibly been exposed to toxins. Your doctor will look for signs of muscle rigidity and tremors, observe you as you walk, check your coordination and posture, and monitor your movements for signs of slowness.
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Should You Be Worried About The Link Between Pesticides And Parkinsons Disease
In recent years, research has accelerated into Parkinsons disease. Researchers are studying the disease around the clock in order to understand the causes, and solutions, to the disease. While there are still dozens of different avenues to look into, some research has illuminated a potential link between common household pesticides and Parkinsons Disease.
Its been found that exposing certain neurotransmitters to pesticides greatly reduces their energy level and output, which could translate into the development of Parkinsons Disease. The link between pesticides and Parkinsons Disease is still being studied and reviewed thoroughly, so new evidence is still coming out every day. Heres a brief guide to the findings so far.
Exposure To Pesticides In The Military
Agent Orange was an herbicide that US troops sprayed in Vietnam from 1961-1971 to kill trees and crops that provided protection and food to the rival army. It is a mixture of two chemicals: 2,4-Dichlorophenoxyacetic acid and 2,4,5-Trichlorophenoxyacetic acid. Agent Orange was also contaminated with Dioxin, a chemical even more damaging than Agent Orange itself, since it is very long-lasting.
The effects of Agent Orange on both the Vietnamese population and on American soldiers has been studied extensively, but with much variability in the results. Birth defects have been attributed to Agent Orange exposure, as well as multiple types of cancer.
With the understanding that the Veteran community served selflessly on behalf of the American people and therefore deserve the protection and support of the American government, the Agent Orange Act was passed in 1991, allowing the Department of Veteran Affairs to declare certain conditions presumptive to exposure to Agent Orange, even if the scientific data associating Agent Orange with that condition was not airtight.
The list of conditions has grown over the years, and in 2010, PD was added. Read here about how veterans who may have been exposed to Agent Orange and have subsequently developed PD are eligible for VA healthcare and disability compensation. APDA offers a free booklet specifically for veterans to help them find the care and support they need.
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Contact Nadrich & Cohen Accident Injury Lawyers Today
If you have been exposed to paraquat and were later diagnosed with Parkinsons disease, you may be entitled to participate in a California paraquat lawsuit. Contact a paraquat lawyer at Nadrich & Cohen today to schedule a case review at no cost to you. We can evaluate your case and determine the amount of compensation you may be eligible to receive. Our attorneys understand this is a very stressful and challenging time in your life and want to help you ease the financial burdens that have arisen as a result of your PD diagnosis.
Contact Nadrich & Cohen Accident Injury Lawyers today at or text or email to schedule a no-obligation consultation to discuss your legal options.
Connecting Parkinsons Disease Pesticides And Genes
A long-term study in California shows different ways that pesticide exposures and genetics combine to increase risk of Parkinsons disease.
Research by Beate Ritz, M.D., Ph.D., from the University of California at Los Angeles, untangles complex interactions between genetic variation, pesticide exposure, and Parkinsons disease. Such gene-environment interaction is termed G x E.
In Nov. 13 talk for the NIEHS Keystone Science Lecture Seminar Series, the longtime grantee shared findings from the Parkinsons, Environment, and Genes study. The seminar was hosted by Kimberly Gray, Ph.D., from the Population Health Branch. Reviewing Ritzs many roles and honors, Gray said, She has been an important member of the NIH extended family.
Breathing Pesticides ‘can Trigger Ms And Parkinson’s Disease’
Pesticides can cause brain damage and trigger conditions such as epilepsy, multiple sclerosis and Parkinson’s disease, according to scientists.
A landmark study claims that chemicals routinely used by farmers in the UK and around the world can result in neurological diseases.
The controversial findings will be challenged by the agro-chemical industry, which insists exposure levels for humans are well within safety limits.
Many scientists say there are huge gaps in our knowledge about the impact of pesticides on public health.
Earlier this year, a Royal Commission on Environmental Pollution inquiry called for a five-metre buffer zone around crop fields to prevent farmers from spraying pesticides.
The commission said this was a necessary precaution until more was known about the effects of chemicals.
But Environment Secretary David Miliband rejected the measure, claiming there were no proven scientific reasons for implementing it.
The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs said it was up to individual farmers voluntarily to impose a spray-free zone.
The latest research into the impact of pesticides on health was carried out by the Energy & Environmental Research Centre at the University of North Dakota.
Funded by the U.S. Department of Health, laboratory tests on rats revealed damage to the brain and to the gastro-
intestinal system. The research team is now evaluating how humans are exposed to pesticides in order to
Where Did The Story Come From
This study was carried out by Dr Caroline Tanner and colleagues from The Parkinsons Institute in California and other research centres in the US and Canada. The study was funded by an unrestricted grant from a group of manufacturers of welding products. One of the studys authors had received fees for providing expert testimony in cases related to Parkinsons disease in welders. The study was published in the peer-reviewed medical journal Archives of Neurology.
Campaigning Against A Growing Risk Of Parkinsons
Responding to worlds fastest growing neurological disorder in 2020, notable Parkinsons disease experts, including Dr Ray Dorsey and Dr Bastiaan Bloem, collaborated to produce the book Ending Parkinsons Disease: A Prescription for Action which called for a ban of certain chemicals associated with the condition.
Many pesticides are nerve toxins, said co-author Dr Dorsey in an interview with Parkinsons Life last year, targeting the parts of cells that are known to be damaged in Parkinsons. When you give some of these pesticides to mice and rats, they get Parkinsons.
As part of their ongoing efforts to drive change for the Parkinsons community, the group started the Red Card campaign to pressure US politicians to turn the tide of Parkinsons encouraging people to send a widely circulated letter to the US president. Thousands of letters were sent over the course of the campaign.
Following the news of the chlorpyrifos ban this month, the team wrote: We did it! We rallied together and sent over 30,000 Red Cards to the White House.
What Should I Know About Theparaquat Legal Cases
In the U.S. there are several class action lawsuits regarding Paraquat. A class action lawsuit is when a person sues on behalf of a larger group of people against a company or organization. In this case, several class action lawsuits are representing people with Parkinsons who believe they were injured by Paraquat exposure against the manufacturer of Paraquat.
The Parkinsons Foundation is not directly involved with the Paraquat class-action lawsuits. Talk to a lawyer before joining a class action lawsuit. These suits can take years to come to resolution. Remember that it should cost nothing to join a class action lawsuit. Two resources for locating an attorney include the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys directory and your local Area Agency on Aging.
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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
Paraquat Linked To Parkinsons
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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Pesticides And Parkinsons Disease
The connection between pesticides and Parkinsons has been raised many times, which led some researchers to look into specific pesticides. However, these efforts are difficult because they require data which already exists in the population. Researchers cant simply expose individuals to pesticides and record the data, so they must use information from pre-existing patients and study their findings based on the patients accounts.
However, despite these difficulties, there have been specific chemicals which have been studied, as there is enough data to do so. The chemical paraquat has been the most studied chemical in this timespan and seems to pose a significant risk to triggering Parkinsons in patients.
The chemical is associated with a likelihood of disease development two or three times the control group. Another chemical which is concerning to the scientific community is rotenone, which acts to disrupt mitochondria during its use. Rotenone is actually extracted from plants, making it a natural pesticide though it has still been associated with Parkinsons Disease and its development.
Glyphosate In Roundup Linked To Parkinsons Disease
New research out of Japans Chiba University suggests that exposure to glyphosate, the active ingredient in the most commonly used pesticide worldwide , may be a risk factor in the development of Parkinsons Disease. The ubiquity of glyphosate use in agriculture which leaves residues of the toxic chemical in food may mean that exposures to it represent a significant risk factor for the disease. Glyphosate is already implicated or proved in the development of numerous health anomalies, including cancer. Beyond Pesticides recognizes that pesticides play a variety of roles in causing or exacerbating negative health outcomes, including Parkinsons Disease . Transitioning pest management in agriculture, land management, and household and personal care contexts to nontoxic and organic approaches is the critical step away from bathing humans and the Earth in harmful chemicals.
The researchers in this subject study, out of the Chiba University Center for Forensic Mental Healths Division of Clinical Neuroscience, sought to investigate whether exposures to glyphosate could impact dopaminergic neurotoxicity in the brains of mice. They found that exposures to glyphosate in adult mice intensified a type of neurotoxicity associated with PD.
All unattributed positions and opinions in this piece are those of Beyond Pesticides.
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Pesticides And The Brain
In southern California in the 1980s, a so-called natural experiment shed light on pesticides neurological effects, when a heroin contaminant called MPTP caused Parkinsons-like symptoms in users. Researchers discovered that MPTP killed dopamine neurons the same neurons damaged in Parkinsons disease.
Parkinsons disease is the second most common neurodegenerative disease, and there are no medications to slow its progression, Ritz said. We need to prevent it. She showed that two pesticides have been linked to Parkinsons paraquat and a plant-derived pesticide called rotenone. Paraquat has a chemical structure similar to MPTP.
California is an AG state, she said. We are using 25 percent of all pesticides applied in the U.S. Maps based on Californias Pesticide Use Reporting database show how use is concentrated in the states central valley. Residents live amid the rich farmland and the battery of chemicals used to manage it.
So that is where, in 2000, Ritz launched PEG, enrolling participants in Fresno, Tulare, and Kern counties.
Glyphosate Boosts Parkinsons Risk
In a 2018 study, researchers from Brazils University of Campinas tested 10 commercial brands of infant formulas. They found glyphosate residues at levels ranging from .02 to .17 milligrams per kg. in the formulas. The researchers linked the glyphosate and its metabolite, aminomethylphosphonic acid to Parkinsons:
Recently, glyphosate and its metabolite aminomethylphosphonic acid have been identified as possible contributors to the emergence of various diseases such as autism, Parkinsons and Alzheimers diseases, as well as cancer.
Glyphosate has been linked to Parkinsons in other studies. A 2013 study found that because glyphosate inhibits the P450 enzymes, and it builds up in tissues, it damages cells and produces brain toxicity.
A 2006 study followed 55,931 people who worked in agriculture. They found those who handled pesticides and herbicides the most had about double the risk of Parkinsons disease.
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Paraquat And Parkinsons Disease
The chemicals toxicity isnt disputed, but its link to Parkinsons disease is more controversial. Lawsuits cite studies that have shown paraquats neurotoxic properties.
A few studies have linked paraquat to Parkinsons disease. One study found people who used paraquat and another pesticide called maneb had an increased risk of as much as 600 percent of developing Parkinsons, according to a 2017 letter from Unified Parkinsons Advocacy Council to the EPA.
The Agricultural Health Study, a large study funded in part by the National Institutes of Health, found an increased risk of developing Parkinsons in farmers who used paraquat.But not all scientists and regulatory authorities agree on the link.
In a 2019 memorandum, the EPA reviewed studies connecting paraquat to Parkinsons. The agency said the evidence was insufficient.
After comprehensive review of the relevant studies, the Agency concluded that the weight of evidence was insufficient to link paraquat exposure from pesticidal use of US registered products to PD in humans, the agency said.
The paraquat litigation is in the early stages and there have been no settlements or jury verdicts yet. In the meantime, lawyers continue to investigate and file lawsuits on behalf of farmers and other agricultural workers across the country.