Excessive exposure to the metal manganese is linked to Parkinson’s disease, according to a recent study from Iowa State University.
Researchers found that too much exposure to this metal could cause misfolded proteins in the brain and lead to neurological diseases.
The research is published in Science Signaling. Metal manganese has a wide range of industrial uses as an alloy.
Although small amounts of manganese are important for the proper human body functioning, scientists have found that too much exposure to this metal is linked to neurological symptoms.
This is because manganese can accumulate in brain tissues.
Researchers have found the links between metal manganese and neurological diseases since the 1950s.
In this study, the team analyzed data from mice and blood serum samples from welders. The blood serum samples were provided by clinicians at Penn State University.
The researchers found that manganese could combine with a protein called alpha-synuclein in the brain.
Welders who were exposed to manganese had increased misfolded alpha-synuclein serum content in their brain.
This means these welders are at a higher risk for developing Parkinson’s disease.
The team suggests that the findings may help create a new medical test to detect the presence of misfolded alpha-synuclein proteins in the brain.
This new test can show whether a person is at risk of Parkinson’s disease even before symptoms appear.
The team hopes their findings could help lead to earlier detection of Parkinson’s disease and better outcomes for patients.
They also suggest that it is important to develop new drugs to slow the disease at early stages. Parkinson’s disease may be harder to slow down when it advances.
The leader of the study is Anumantha Kanthasamy, a Clarence Hartley Covault Distinguished Professor in veterinary medicine and the Eugene and Linda Lloyd Endowed Chair of Neurotoxicology.
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