Exposing to pesticides may increase the chance of developing Parkinson’s disease as pesticides are potential factor contributing to the disease. In a recent study, 11 new pesticides are identified to increase the risk of developing Parkinson’s disease.
In a previous study, the University of California, Los Angeles team found that exposure to a banned pesticide called benomyl increases the risk of Parkinson’s disease. According to the new study, a number of common pesticides are identified to increase the risk of Parkinson’s disease. And it is also discovered that people’s genes can affect their level of risk.
The pesticides that increase the risk for Parkinson’s disease inhibit an enzyme called “aldehyde dehydrogenase” (ALDH). It converts compounds called aldehydes — which are highly toxic to brain cells that produce a chemical called dopamine — into less harmful compounds. And a lack of dopamine leads to the tremors, limb stiffness and loss of balance, which are common symptoms for by people with Parkinson’s disease.
It is also found that people with a common variant of the ALDH2 gene are particularly vulnerable to these ALDH-inhibiting pesticides. Exposing to the pesticides, people with the variant are two to six times more likely to develop Parkinson’s disease than those without the variant.
According to the researchers, these pesticides are pretty common. And they can be found in our food supply and are used in parks and golf courses and in pest control inside buildings and homes. The wide coverage of these pesticides increases the number of people at risk, therefore, increasing the risk of Parkinson’s disease.
Although there is a relationship between exposure to certain pesticides and higher risk of Parkinson’s disease, it did not establish a cause-and-effect relationship. People should pay attention to these pesticides in their daily life to decrease their risk of developing Parkinson’s disease.