More and more pesticides are being linked with the rising incidence of Parkinson's among farm workers and those who live near croplands, according to a research.
Parkinson's is a disease that afflicts those over 50 years, which destroys brain cells producing dopamine. It is characterised by slowing of movement, partial facial paralysis, peculiarity of gait and posture, and weakness.
Now, University of California — Los Angeles (UCLA) researchers have discovered a link between Parkinson's and another pesticide, benomyl, whose toxicological effects still linger some 10 years after the chemical was banned by US Environmental Protection Agency, the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences reported.
Even more significantly, the research suggests that the damaging series of events set in motion by benomyl may also occur in people with Parkinson's disease who were never exposed to the pesticide, said Jeff Bronstein, senior study author and professor of neurology at UCLA and colleagues.
Benomyl exposure, they say, starts a cascade of cellular events that may lead to Parkinson's.
The pesticide prevents an enzyme called ALDH (aldehyde dehydrogenase) from keeping a lid on dopal, a toxin that naturally occurs in the brain, according to an UCLA statement.
When left unchecked by ALDH, dopal accumulates, damages neurons and increases an individual's risk of developing Parkinson's.
The investigators believe their findings concerning benomyl may be generalised to all Parkinson's patients.
Developing new drugs to protect ALDH activity, they say, may eventually help slow the progression of the disease, whether or not an individual has been exposed to pesticides.