Joelle Reizes - July 5, 2013
New results compiled after analyzing 104 studies have linked exposure to pesticides that target weeds and insects to an increased risk of developing Parkinson’s disease. Researchers from the University Hospital San Matteo Foundation gathered the results, which found that after pesticide exposure, a person’s risk of one day developing Parkinson’s disease goes up by 33 to 80 percent.
Pesticides are designed to kill insects and weeds but not harm humans, especially consumers or workers who come into direct contact with the products. The researchers noticed that more patients were beginning to report pesticide exposure, so they examined the health effects of such exposure.
“In everyday clinical practice we frequently see patients reporting such exposure,” said study author Emanuele Cereda, MD, Ph.D., in a Yahoo! Health article. “Accordingly, it appears quite obvious to look at these exposures as risk factors.”
Parkinson’s disease (PD) is a disorder that involves the malfunction and death of important nerve cells in the brain, called neurons. Many of the neurons in the brain are responsible for sending signals to the part of the brain that controls movement. As the neurons die, a person’s ability to control movement decreases.
According to the Parkinson’s Disease Foundation, about one million Americans are currently living with Parkinson’s disease. People with Parkinson’s disease often experience tremor of the hands, arms, legs, jaw and face, slowness of movement, stiffness in the limbs and trunk, and impaired balance and coordination. The exact cause and cure for Parkinson’s disease have not yet been discovered.
While this study has linked pesticide exposure to increased risk of Parkinson’s disease, another well-known risk factor for the condition is family history. It is also believed that the condition can be triggered by environmental factors, making the findings of this study especially alarming.
“When a label on a certain category of products tells you that the content may be toxic, please be aware that the warning has been put there for a reason,” said Cereda in the article. “[T]he use of protective equipment and compliance with suggested or even recommended preventive practices should be emphasized in every high-risk working category.”
Being aware of the chemicals you are coming into contact with is an important part of the preventive approach to your own health. Be proactive. Have control of what you’re putting your body at risk for so you can do your part to prevent a dangerous, life-altering condition from developing.
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