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Parkinson’s News TodayFarming’s Use of Pesticides and Herbicides Tied to Parkinson’s Risk

Exploring the Environmental Nexus: Pesticide Exposure and Parkinson’s Disease Risk

Recent findings that will be presented at the American Academy of Neurology (AAN) annual meeting highlight a significant association between high levels of pesticide and herbicide exposure and increased Parkinson’s disease risk. This comprehensive study, leveraging a substantial Medicare dataset, elucidates the environmental dimensions of Parkinson’s, offering crucial insights into potential risk factors beyond genetic predispositions. Such revelations underscore the imperative for ongoing research and targeted interventions to mitigate these environmental risks.

Key Points:

  • Exposure to high levels of farming pesticides and herbicides is linked to a 36% increased risk of Parkinson’s disease in the most affected US regions.
  • The study, involving more than 21 million people, indicates a stronger Parkinson’s diagnosis rate in areas with intensive agricultural chemical use.
  • Researcher Brittany Krzyzanowski utilized a 2009 Medicare dataset to correlate Parkinson’s incidence with 65 different pesticides or herbicides across 10 US regions.
  • In regions with the highest use of the herbicide simazine, Parkinson’s risk surged by 36%, while atrazine and lindane exposure increased risks by 31% and 25%, respectively.
  • Findings remained consistent even after adjusting for potential confounding factors like air pollution.
  • The research highlights the necessity for further studies to explore the causal mechanisms and potential interventions to reduce pesticide-related Parkinson’s risks.

“Much more research is needed to determine these relationships and hopefully to inspire others to take steps to lower the risk of disease by reducing the levels of these pesticides.”
– Brittany Krzyzanowski, PhD, research assistant professor of neuroepidemiology at Barrow Neurological Institute

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