A new study suggests that the combination of a past head injury and exposure to pesticides may be tied to an extra-high risk of developing Parkinson’s disease. Previous studies have linked family history and environmental exposures, along with certain toxins and head trauma. “I think all of us are beginning to realize that there’s not one smoking gun that causes Parkinson’s disease. There might be many paths to the ultimate development of Parkinson’s disease,” said Dr. James Bower, a neurologist from the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota who was not part of this study which was led by Dr. Pei-Chen Lee from the University of California at Los Angeles.  Bower believes some people who are genetically predisposed might need one “environmental insult” – such as a blow to the head – to develop the disease. Other people who may not be naturally susceptible, can still develop Parkinson’s after many exposures.

“There are all kinds of hypotheses,” Bower said. But the study is more evidence that traumatic injury to the brain can lead to later problems that are usually neurodegenerative. We need to be increasingly careful about preventing these traumatic brain injuries.” Reuters Health    11/13/12

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