Scientists from the University of Rochester and other institutions have recently shed light on the potential role of trichloroethylene (TCE), an industrial solvent and environmental pollutant, in contributing to Parkinson’s disease (PD).
Parkinson’s Disease and Its Causes
Parkinson’s disease is a progressive neurological disorder affecting movement control.
It is characterized by the damage or death of dopamine-producing cells, leading to symptoms like tremors, stiffness, slow movement, and balance and coordination difficulties.
Other symptoms may include changes in speech and writing, loss of smell, constipation, sleep disturbances, and depression.
While the exact cause of Parkinson’s disease remains elusive, it’s believed that both genetic and environmental factors contribute to its development.
Known risk factors include age, a family history of the disease, exposure to pesticides and other toxins, and head injuries.
The Role of TCE
TCE is a versatile chemical used in various industries for tasks such as degreasing metal parts, decaffeinating coffee, and dry-cleaning clothes.
It has been linked to parkinsonism since 1969, and several case studies have associated occupational exposure to TCE with Parkinson’s disease.
A recent study found that exposure to TCE correlated with a 500% increased risk of developing Parkinson’s disease.
TCE exposure isn’t limited to occupational settings, as it can contaminate outdoor air, groundwater, and indoor air.
This colorless chemical can evaporate from soil and groundwater, infiltrating homes, workplaces, or schools, often without detection.
Despite its widespread contamination and increasing use, clinical studies exploring the connection between TCE and Parkinson’s disease have been relatively limited.
Investigating the Link Between TCE and Parkinson’s Disease
In their study, researchers conducted a literature review and examined seven illustrative cases.
They proposed that TCE might be contributing to the global rise of Parkinson’s disease, labeling it as a potentially preventable cause.
More research is needed to further examine this hypothesis and to determine the full extent of TCE’s impact on Parkinson’s disease.
Managing Parkinson’s Disease and Preventing Exposure to TCE
As there is currently no cure for Parkinson’s disease, management focuses on treatments that can help control symptoms and improve quality of life.
These include medications like levodopa and dopamine agonists to increase dopamine levels in the brain and other drugs to manage non-motor symptoms.
Physical therapy and exercise can also help manage symptoms and maintain mobility.
Lifestyle changes, including a healthy diet, regular exercise, stress management, and avoiding toxins, can further help manage symptoms and improve overall health.
Support groups and counseling can also be beneficial for individuals with Parkinson’s and their families.
As our understanding of TCE’s potential role in Parkinson’s disease deepens, it’s crucial to limit exposure to this chemical, highlighting the need for effective environmental and occupational health strategies.
The study, conducted by Dorsey Ray et al, was published in the Journal of Parkinson’s Disease.
It adds to our growing understanding of the environmental factors contributing to Parkinson’s disease, underscoring the need for ongoing research and public health efforts to mitigate these risks.
If you care about Parkinson’s disease, please read studies about Vitamin E that may help prevent Parkinson’s disease, and Vitamin D could benefit people with Parkinson’s disease.
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