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Exposure to pesticides and head injuries 'significantly increases Parkinson's risk'

Exposure to pesticides and head injuries 'significantly increases Parkinson's risk'
24th December 2012

Researchers in the US have produced statistics suggesting people who have suffered a head injury and been exposed to pesticides are three times more likely to develop Parkinson's disease.

Scientists at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) conducted the study in an attempt to find a comprehensive link between Parkinson's disease and two factors that have long been rumoured to contribute to it - traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) and exposure to pesticides. Their research is published in the latest edition of Neurology journal.

One of the most common pesticides is paraquat, a herbicide used to control grass and weeds.

Led by UCLA's Professor Pei-Chen Lee, the team discovered that, although both pesticide exposure and TBI appeared to increase the* risk of developing Parkinson's, the combination of the two factors made a positive diagnosis significantly more likely.

Ms Lee said: "While TBI and paraquat exposure each increase the risk of Parkinson's disease moderately, exposure to both factors almost tripled Parkinson's disease risk."

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