The risk of developing Parkinson's disease may be increased by the occurrence of a traumatic brain injury, research shows.
In a study on mice, carried out at the University of California Los Angeles, a 15 per cent decline in nigrostriatal dopaminergic neurons was observed immediately after a traumatic brain injury.
A lack of these neurons is known to cause symptoms characteristic of Parkinson's disease such as akineasia, rigidity and postural tremor.
Furthermore, levels of these neurons dropped to by 30 per cent 26 weeks after the injury.
When the traumatic brain injury was combined with the established risk factor of exposure to certain pesticides, this 30 per cent drop occurred much faster.
Meanwhile, research published in the FASEB Journal revealed that nicotine may protect the brain against Parkinson's disease.
Nicotine was seen to rescue dopamine neurons in normal mice, but not those without a nicotine receptor.
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