Risk for Parkinson’s Disease, Increased With Exposure To Chemicals

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 The boom of the industrial market in many countries across the globe brought significant impact on the economic aspects of the general public, making them enjoy life through the use of various products which helps make life easy. However, accompanying this improvement in industrialization and modernization are the detrimental effects to the environment and health of many individuals. Recently, exposure to a certain industrial solvent which is known as the trichloroethylene (TCE) has been linked to the development of a disease called as Parkinson’s disease, according to a study.

Trichloroethylene (TCE) is a clear, non-flammable chemical compound which is commonly used by many individuals as an industrial solvent. Decades ago, this industrial solvent has been used to extract oils from vegetables and other plants such as the coconut, palm, and soy. Other uses of this chemical compound include: as a dry cleaning solvent and a degreaser for metal parts.

Parkinson’s disease is a disorder in which there is a decrease in production of one important neurotransmitter called dopamine. This happens when the cells present in the brain which are responsible for making the neurotransmitter dopamine are damaged. This results to certain clinical manifestations which include: trembling of hands, arms, legs, jaw and face, stiffness of the arms, legs and trunk, slowness of movement, and poor balance and coordination.

According to the National Institute for Neurologic Disorders, “PD is both chronic, meaning it persists over a long period of time, and progressive, meaning its symptoms grow worse over time.  Although some people become severely disabled, others experience only minor motor disruptions. Tremor is the major symptom for some patients, while for others tremor is only a minor complaint and other symptoms are more troublesome.  No one can predict which symptoms will affect an individual patient, and the intensity of the symptoms also varies from person to person.”

The new study which was published online in the issue of Annals of Neurology tackled about the exposure to trichloroethylene (TCE) being tied up with Parkinson’s disease. The study involves the analysis and examination of study participants who were twins amounting to about 99 pairs of twins. One had the condition and the other did not. In order for the researchers to determine long term exposure of the participants to 6 commonly used solvents, the researchers gathered data through interview. They asked the study participants regarding their way of living and their work. Also, the researchers have focused asking questions about the materials used by the twins during their tasks.

Moreover, the researchers found out that those individuals who are had exposure to TCE had a 6-fold increase risk of developing Parkinson’s disease. 10-fold increase was also seen among those individuals who had exposure to perchloroethylene (PERC), another chemical compound tested in the study. In addition, researchers discovered that the average onset of Parkinson’s disease among those individuals who had exposure to industrial solvents were 30 to 40 years after the exposure.

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