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

ley, then obtained historical occupational and residential addresses from all the study participants. Employing their geographic information system model, they estimated ambient exposures to the pesticides ziram, maneb and paraquat, both at work and home, from 1974 to 1999.

The results reaffirmed what their previous research had suggested, that the data, "suggests that the critical window of exposure to toxicants may have occurred years before the onset of motor symptoms, when a diagnosis of Parkinson's is made."

Knowing that the fungicide ziram is commonly used in agriculture and suspecting its relationship to Parkinson's, Ritz turned to her colleague Jeff Bronstein, a UCLA professor of neurology and co-author of the study, for confirmation. His lab performed a genetic screen using genetically modified cells to identify pesticides that inhibit the breakdown of important proteins such as alpha-synuclein. Ziram was one of the best inhibitors they identified; they found, in fact, that synuclein accumulated in dopamine neurons, selectively killing them. When it was given systemically to rodents, it reproduced many of the features of Parkinson's disease.

"So the present study clearly demonstrates that exposure to ziram in humans is associated with a significant increased risk of developing PD," Bronstein said.


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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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