Pesticides increase risk of Parkinsons

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London, Mar 29 (UNI) Frequent exposure to pesticides can double the risk of Parkinson's disease, scientists suggest.

It was found that people using insect sprays or weed killers at home or on their job were at a 60 per cent greater risk of developing the degenerative nervous system disorder, which increases with the frequency of use.

The disease occurs when nerve cells in the part of the brain that controls muscle movement die or become damaged.

Disruption of the normal production of the vital brain signaling chemical dopamine by these cells leads to movement, speech and balance problems, as well as tremors and stiffness.

''The findings suggests that sporadic (non-familial) cases may be particularly vulnerable to the toxic effects of pesticides,'' Daily Telegraph quoted lead author Dana Hancock, from the Duke University Medical Centre as saying.

Men using pesticides often were 2.15 times more likely to develop Parkinson's compared to those who did not. With women who were frequently exposed were 2.43 times more likely to get it.

''The previous research has looked at large populations from potentially different environments with different genetic make-ups, this study minimises these differences by comparing with family,'' added Kieran Breen, Director of Research at the Parkinson's Disease Society.

UNI XC PD HT1326

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