Industrial Cleaner Linked to Increased Risk of Parkinsonís Disease
Published Tuesday, February 9, 2010 4:00 am

Sunnyvale, CA Ė February 8, 2010

The Parkinsonís Institute and Clinical Center (PI) is excited to announce the publication of the report, "Parkinsonís Disease Risk is Increased in Discordant Twins Exposed to Specific Solvents" by The American Academy of Neurology. Samuel M. Goldman, MD, MPH and colleagues at the Parkinsonís Institute in Sunnyvale found that the risk of developing Parkinsonís disease was nearly six-fold greater in individuals exposed to the common industrial solvent trichloroethylene (TCE). Prior smaller studies suggested a potential problem with the solvent, but the new study by Dr. Goldman and colleagues is the first to quantify the risk.  Risk was also increased for several other solvents including carbon tetrachloride and tetrachloroethylene (PERC).

Parkinson's disease, caused by the death of cells in the brain that secrete the neurotransmitter dopamine, is characterized by severe tremors, rigidity in the limbs and other symptoms.  It strikes an estimated 100,000 Americans each year and is ultimately fatal.  Genetics may play a role in susceptibility to Parkinson's, but the disease has also been linked to environmental factors such as pesticides and head trauma.

ďThis is the first time a population-based study has confirmed case reports that exposure to TCE may increase a personís risk of developing Parkinsonís disease,Ē said Dr. Goldman. ďTCE has been widely used for more than 50 years in a range of industrial settings and products.  It is now primarily used to clean grease off metal parts, and as a component in glues, paints, lubricants and stain removers.  PERC is the predominant solvent used in dry-cleaning.Ē

For the study, researchers obtained lifetime job histories from 99 pairs of twins in which only one of the twins had Parkinsonís disease.  Scientists used twins in the study because they are genetically identical or very similar and provide an ideal population for evaluating environmental risk factors. Goldmanís study was released today and will be presented at the American Academy of Neurology's 62nd Annual Meeting in Toronto April 10 to April 17, 2010.

Study supported by: NINDS U10-NS31321, RO1-NS40467; The Valley Foundation; James and Sharron Clark Family Fund

About the Parkinsonís Institute and Clinical Center

Founded in 1988, The Parkinsonís Institute and Clinical Center (PI) is Americaís only independent non-profit organization that provides both basic and clinical research, clinical trials and a comprehensive movement disorder patient clinic for Parkinsonís disease (PD) and related neurological movement disorders, all under one roof. Its mission is to find the causes, provide first class patient care and discover a cure.  Its unique freestanding organization supports a strong collaboration of translational medicine designed to more directly connect research to patient care Ė from the "bench to bedside".

Media Contact: Mary Tunison, 408-542-5606

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