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NIH-funded twin study finds occupational chemical exposure may be linked to Parkinson's risk
Date:11/13/2011

A new research report contributes to the increasing evidence that repeated occupational exposure to certain chemical solvents raises the risk for Parkinson's disease. Researchers analyzed the occupational histories of twins in which one of the pair developed the neurodegenerative disorder, and assessed that twin's likelihood of exposure to six chemicals previously linked to Parkinson's. Of the six chemicals investigated, researchers concluded that two common chemical solvents, trichloroethylene (TCE) and perchloroethylene (PERC), are significantly linked to development of this disease. This study, supported in part by the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS), a part of the National Institutes of Health, appears in the Nov. 14, 2011 issue of Annals of Neurology.

Parkinson's disease is a movement disorder caused by the loss of brain cells that produce a molecule called dopamine. The primary symptoms of Parkinson's are tremor, stiffness, slowed movement and impaired balance, and as these symptoms progress, patients may also develop difficulty walking, speaking or completing other activities of daily living. Genes play a role in Parkinson's disease, but fewer than 10 percent of cases are due to a single gene mutation, and not all people with these mutations develop Parkinson's, suggesting that environmental factors also contribute to the likelihood of developing the disease.

The researchers, led by Samuel Goldman, M.D., M.P.H. and Caroline Tanner, M.D., Ph.D. at the Parkinson's Institute in Sunnyvale, Calif., collected the histories of 99 pairs of twins in which one of the pair developed Parkinson's and the other twin did not. Since twins are so genetically similar, twin studies are especially useful in identifying environmental influences in disease. The twins were identified through the National Academy of Sciences/National Research Council World War II Veteran Twins Registry. Of the 99 pairs, half were geneti
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Contact: Nicole Garbarini
nindspressteam@ninds.nih.gov
301-496-5751
NIH/National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke
Source:Eurekalert

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