Family study gives more evidence to link between pesticides, Parkinson's

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Washington, Mar 28 : A new family study has given more support to the belief that there's a link between pesticide exposure and the neurological disorder Parkinson's.

The study, by researchers from Duke University Medical Center (Durham, NC) and the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine Morris K. Udall Parkinson Disease Research Center of Excellence (Miami, FL, USA) was carried out on 319 patients and over 200 relatives.

The majority of Parkinson's disease cases are thought to be due to an interaction between genetic and environmental factors.

Boffins have now detected a link between pesticide use and Parkinson's disease, the strongest being that between the disorder and use of herbicides and insecticides, such as organochlorides and organophosphates.

"Further investigation of these specific pesticides and others may lead to identification of pertinent biological pathways influencing PD development," said the study's lead author Dana Hancock.

The study's lead author, Dana Hancock, said that the research is important as only a few studies have previously looked at the link between Parkinson's and pesticide exposure in people of the same family.

"Previous studies have shown that individuals with Parkinson's disease are over twice as likely to report being exposed to pesticides as unaffected individuals" says the, "but few studies have looked at this association in people from the same family or have assessed associations between specific classes of pesticides and Parkinson's disease."

No association was found between Parkinson's disease and well-water drinking or living or working on a farm, which are two commonly used proxies for pesticide exposures.

The study appears on the online open access journal BMC Neurology.

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