Bay Area Doctors Find Parkinson's Disease Risk Much Greater in Some Exposed to Popular Herbicide
Genetic mutation leads to 11-fold increase in risk
Published Tuesday, October 9, 2012 12:01 am
by The Parkinson's Institute and Clinical Center

from Dr. Samuel Goldman and The PI Clinical Research Department

Samuel Goldman, MD, MPHSamuel Goldman, MD, MPH

Research conducted by The Parkinson’s Institute and Clinical Center (The PI) and the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) has found that exposure to Paraquat, one of the most widely used herbicides in the world, may dramatically increase the risk of developing Parkinson’s disease. Study findings were published online October 9, 2012 in the journal Movement Disorders.

What we found

  • Risk of Parkinson’s disease was doubled in people who worked with Paraquat.
  • Strikingly, the risk of Parkinson’s disease was increased 11-fold in people who had a common genetic variant (defective GSTT1 gene) and worked with Paraquat.

Why this matters

  • It is likely that Parkinson’s disease is caused by a combination of genes and environment.
  • Understanding how genes and environment interact could lead to ways to prevent or slow the progression of Parkinson’s disease.
  • An 11-fold increased risk of Parkinson’s disease is one of the largest risks ever reported.
  • Paraquat has been used for decades in the farming of fruits and vegetables, to treat cotton before harvesting, to kill weeds in fields before crop planting, and for weed control along roads and highways.

Learn more about this important research study
Read The PI's press release
Movement Disorders abstract
Support Parkinson's disease research at The PI today!

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