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Pesticides link to Parkinson's in men

Jun 15, 2006 | UPI Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., researchers have found pesticides increase the risk of developing Parkinson's in men.

"This confirms what has been found in previous studies: that occupational or other exposure to herbicides, insecticides and other pesticides increases risk for Parkinson's," says Dr. Jim Maraganore, Mayo Clinic neurologist and study investigator.

"What we think may be happening is that pesticide use combines with other risk factors in men's environment or genetic makeup, causing them to cross over the threshold into developing the disease. By contrast, estrogen may protect women from the toxic effects of pesticides."

Pesticide exposure did not increase the risk of Parkinson's disease in women, and no other household or industrial chemicals were significantly linked to the disease in either men or women.

Overall, the study, published in the journal Movement Disorders, found that the men with Parkinson's disease were 2.4 times more likely to have had exposure to pesticides than those who did not have Parkinson's.

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