NIH study finds two pesticides associated with Parkinson's disease
New research shows a link between use of two common pesticides, rotenone and paraquat, and Parkinson's disease (PD). The study was a collaborative effort conducted by researchers at the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS), which is part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), and the Parkinsonís Institute and Clinical Center in California.
Akinso: New research shows a link between the use of two pesticides and Parkinsonís disease.
Kamel: Both of these pesticides have been connected to Parkinsonís disease. Akinso: Dr. Freya Kamel is a staff Scientist for the Epidemiology Branch at the National Institute of Environmental Health Science.
Kamel: Rotenone is an insecticide that was used in the past and home gardens and on pests. It was considered to be a safe chemical because itís synthesized by plants, in other words it could be considered to be organic. The other pesticide that we looked at in our study is called paraquat and thatís an herbicide, which is used to kill weeds.
Akinso: The study was a joint effort conducted by researchers at the NIEHS, and the Parkinsonís Institute and Clinical Center in Sunnyvale, California. The researchers studied 110 people with Parkinsonís disease and over 300 controls matched by age, gender and state to investigate the relationship between Parkinsonís disease and exposure to pesticides or other agents that are toxic to nervous tissue. Dr. Kamel says people that used these pesticides were more likely to develop Parkinson's disease.
Kamel: We found that both paraquat and rotenone were associated with Parkinsonís disease. Exposure to either of those chemicals caused about a two fold increase in the risk for Parkinsonís disease. We also looked at some other chemicals, other pesticides that have mechanisms that are very similar to either rotenone or paraquat. And these other chemicals considered as a group also increased the risk of Parkinson's disease.
Akinso: The Farming and Movement Evaluation study is a case-control study that is part of the larger Agricultural Health Study, which is a study of farming and health in approximately 90,000 pesticide applicators and their spouses. Dr. Kamel is optimistic that this study could lead to possible treatment or prevention for Parkinson's disease.
Kamel: So not only do we know something about risk factors for the disease but this study also increases our understanding of the mechanisms that are involved. And this finding is particularly important because it may help us develop treatment or even preventive measures for the disease.
Akinso: Dr. Kamel says these findings help researchers to understand the biologic changes underlying Parkinsonís disease. For more information on this study, visit www.niehs.nih.gov. More on Parkinson's disease can be found at www.ninds.nih.gov. This is Wally Akinso at the National Institutes of Health Bethesda, Maryland.
About This Audio Report
Reporter: Wally Akinso
Sound Bite: Dr. Freya Kamel
Topic: Parkinson's disease, pesticides
Additional Info: NIH study finds two pesticides associated with Parkinson's disease