Paraquat exposure, head injuries triple risk for Parkinson’s disease

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Paraquat exposure, head injuries triple risk for Parkinson's diseaseExposure to high levels of the industrial weed killer paraquat combined with a previous head injury have been identified as a serious combination risk factor increasing a person’s chance of developing Parkinson’s disease.

According to a report from the Canadian medical site InsiderMedicine.ca, suffering a head injury and being exposed to paraquat tripled a person’s chances of developing Parkinson’s disease. Each of these factors can stand alone as one that can significantly increase a person’s chance of developing Parkinson’s disease but a new study appearing in the most recent edition of the journal Neurology found that both those risks combine to raise the chance of Parkinson’s even more.

The study examined records of 1,000 people living in California where paraquat is used frequently. Among those thousand people, 400 were diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease. The researchers then examined exposure levels to paraquat and determined how many had suffered a severe head trauma at some point in their life, an injury that caused a person to lose consciousness for at least five minutes.

When a person had suffered both a head injury and exposure to paraquat, they were three-times as likely to have Parkinson’s disease later in life.

The research for this study examined two perceived risk factors for Parkinson’s disease and theorized what a combination of those risk factors had on the likelihood of developing the disease. The results of this study have been backed by previous reports completed by Mayo Clinic researchers in 2006 who found that men working in areas where industrial pesticides and herbicides were used were more likely to develop Parkinson’s disease.