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High risk of Parkinson's disease for people exposed to pesticides near workplace
Date:5/26/2011

ticides affect different mechanisms leading to cell death, they may act together to increase the risk of developing the disorder: Those exposed to all three experienced the greatest increase in risk.

"Our results suggest that pesticides affecting different cellular mechanisms that contribute to dopaminergic neuron death may act together to increase the risk of PD considerably," said Ritz, who holds a joint appointment in the UCLA Department of Neurology.

Scientists knew that in animal models and cell cultures, such pesticides trigger a neurodegenerative process that leads to Parkinson's, a degenerative disorder of the central nervous system that often impairs motor skills, speech and other functions and for which there is no cure. The disease has been reported to occur at high rates among farmers and in rural populations, contributing to the hypothesis that agricultural pesticides may be partially responsible.

In the past, data on human exposure had been unavailable, largely because it had been too hard to measure an individual's environmental exposure to any specific pesticide.

"This stuff drifts," Ritz said. "It's borne by the wind and can wind up on plants and animals, float into open doorways or kitchen windows up to several hundred meters from the fields."

So several years ago, Ritz and her colleagues developed a geographic information systembased tool that estimates human exposure to pesticides applied to agricultural crops, according to the distance from fields on which pesticides are sprayed. This GIS tool combined land-use maps and pesticide-use reporting data from the state of California. Each pesticide-use record includes the name of the pesticide's active ingredient, the amount applied, the crop, the acreage of the field, the application method and the date of application.

From 1998 to 2007, the researchers enrolled 362 people with Parkinson's and 341 controls living in the Central Val
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Contact: Mark Wheeler
mwheeler@mednet.ucla.edu
310-794-2265
University of California - Los Angeles
Source:Eurekalert

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