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NIEHS invests $21.25 million to find environmental causes of Parkinson's disease
Date:9/16/2008

The National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS), part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), announced today that it will award three new grants totaling $21.25 million over a five-year period to study how environmental factors contribute to the cause, prevention and treatment of Parkinson's disease and other related disorders.

Parkinson's disease is a neurodegenerative disorder that affects nerve cells, or neurons, in several parts of the brain, including neurons that use the chemical messenger dopamine to control muscle movement. More than one million Americans suffer from Parkinson's disease, with approximately 60,000 new cases reported each year. The average age of onset is 60 years, though people have been diagnosed much younger.

The five-year grants are being awarded as part of the NIEHS' Centers for Neurodegeneration Science (CNS) announcement issued in 2007. The CNS program builds on the previous successes of the NIEHS Collaborative Centers for Parkinson's Disease Environmental Research. Each center has assembled an interdisciplinary team of investigators that are working on several tightly connected research projects related to Parkinson's disease.

"Given the growing body of literature that is identifying environmental stressors such as pesticides as risk factors for Parkinson's disease, it is more important than ever that we bring clinical and basic scientists together to clarify the causes of this disease," said Cindy Lawler, Ph.D., program administrator at NIEHS. "These new centers will bring us one step closer to new prevention and treatment strategies."

The three grantees include:

  • Gary Miller, Ph.D., Emory University, Atlanta

Parkinson's disease (PD) has been linked to pesticide exposure, mitochondrial damage, and altered storage of the neurotransmitter dopamine. Dr. Miller and his team will be looking at how environmental and genetic factors interact to alter th
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Contact: Robin Mackar
rmackar@niehs.nih.gov
919-541-0073
NIH/National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences
Source:Eurekalert

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