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Pesticides link to Parkinson's

30th May 2007

Researchers at Aberdeen University have found pesticide exposure could increase the risk of developing Parkinson's disease.

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The results of the study, reported in the journal Occupational and Environmental Medicine, showed that a high level of exposure increased the risk by 39%.

Dr Finlay Dick, the lead researcher, said: "What we have shown in the study is that with increasing risk to exposure to pesticides, the risk of Parkinson's Disease increases.

"This doesn't prove that pesticides cause Parkinson's Disease - but does add to the weight of evidence of an association."

The research looked at 959 cases of "parkinsonism" and subjects answered questions relating to their lifetime exposure to various chemicals. The subjects' replies were then evaluated against a group of patients who did not have Parkinson's.

The responses indicated that while a family history of the disease presented the highest risk of a subject developing the disease, exposure to pesticides was also a factor.

A spokesman for the Parkinson's Disease Society said: "The important finding from this study is confirmation that Parkinson's is not caused by any one factor, but instead a combination of genetic susceptibility and environmental factors."

Georgina Downs, from the UK Pesticides Campaign, which represents people in rural communities, said that the high toxicity of pesticides meant that the results of the study in relation to "neurological and neurodegenerative diseases' was not surprising.

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