Adults who reported ever having had a head injury and who were exposed to the herbicide paraquat had nearly a three-fold increased risk of developing Parkinson’s disease, according to a survey published Monday in the journal Neurology.
Researchers at UCLA’s Fielding School of Public Health surveyed more than 1,000 adults ages 35 and older who lived in central California. Some 357 of the participants were diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease, amovement disorder characterized by tremors and loss of coordination.
Participants with the disease were nearly twice as likely as those without the disease to report having had a head injury in which they lost consciousness for more than five minutes.
Using a geographical tracking system, the researchers also found that those with Parkinson’s disease were also more likely to live within 500 meters of a spot where paraquat was used. Paraquat is a chemical liquid commonly used to kill plants and weeds.
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