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Pesticides "raise Parkinson's risk"

Exposure to pesticides and head injuries may increase the risk of Parkinson's disease, a new study claims.

Researchers from Aberdeen University studied the link between environmental factors and Parkinson's, and other associated degenerative syndromes.

The research involved 959 people in Scotland, Italy, Sweden, Romania and Malta with "parkinsonism", of whom 767 have Parkinson's disease.

People who have been exposed to low levels of pesticides were found to be 1.13 times as likely to have Parkinson's, compared with those who have never been exposed.

Those who have been exposed to high levels of pesticides were 1.41 times as likely to be affected, the study in the journal Occupational and Environmental Medicine said.

In those people who have been knocked unconscious once, Parkinson's occurred 1.35 times more frequently than in those who have never been knocked out.

And in those knocked out more than once, it arose 2.53 times more often.

Dr Kieran Breen, director of research and development for the Parkinson's Disease Society, said: "The findings from the Geoparkinson study stating repeated traumatic loss of consciousness to be associated with an increased risk of Parkinson's are interesting, as this suggests that head injury may make the brain more susceptible to damage by other factors, such as exposure to pesticides.

"However, further research is needed because this study is not clear whether being knocked unconscious happened to those with Parkinson's before or after onset of the condition."

Occupational and Environmental Medicine

Parkinson's Disease Society

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