Scientists find a surprising cause of Parkinson’s disease

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A group of researchers from the University of Rochester, along with their colleagues from various institutions, have been examining how a chemical called trichloroethylene, or TCE, could be involved in causing Parkinson’s disease.

TCE is a chemical commonly used in industries for cleaning metal parts, making decaffeinated coffee, and in dry cleaning clothes.

Parkinson’s disease is a condition that gradually worsens over time and affects how a person moves. People with this disease have problems with shaking, stiffness, moving slowly, and difficulty with balance and coordination.

Other issues like changes in how they speak and write, losing their sense of smell, trouble sleeping, and feeling depressed are also common.

Scientists have been trying to figure out what causes Parkinson’s disease for a long time. They believe it happens because of a mix of genetic factors, which are traits inherited from parents, and environmental factors, which involve things people are exposed to in their surroundings.

Age, family history of the disease, being around certain chemicals, and serious head injuries are all considered risk factors.

TCE is not a new chemical, but its potential link to Parkinson’s disease has been observed since 1969.

Recent studies suggest that people who have been around a lot of TCE may have a much higher chance of developing Parkinson’s disease—up to five times greater than those who haven’t been exposed.

TCE isn’t just found in workplaces; it can also get into the air outside, underground water sources, and even indoor air from the soil and water it has contaminated. This means it can get into places like homes, offices, or schools without anyone noticing.

Despite TCE being around us and used quite a lot, there hasn’t been enough research done to fully understand how exactly it contributes to Parkinson’s disease.

In the latest research efforts, the team reviewed previous studies and looked closely at seven specific cases where people were exposed to TCE and later developed Parkinson’s disease.

Their findings suggest that TCE might be a key factor in the increasing number of Parkinson’s disease cases worldwide and that it might be possible to prevent some of these cases by addressing TCE exposure.

Currently, there is no cure for Parkinson’s disease, so treatments focus on managing symptoms to improve the lives of those affected. This can include medications that help increase levels of dopamine, a crucial brain chemical that is lacking in people with Parkinson’s.

There are also other medications aimed at helping with the non-movement related symptoms of the disease. Regular physical therapy and exercise are important too, as they help maintain mobility and function.

Living a healthy lifestyle, which includes eating well, staying active, managing stress, and avoiding known toxins like TCE, can also make a significant difference in managing Parkinson’s disease.

Additionally, joining support groups and seeking counseling can provide much-needed support for individuals and families dealing with Parkinson’s.

With the growing evidence of TCE’s role in Parkinson’s disease, it becomes even more important to reduce exposure to this chemical. This calls for better strategies in both environmental and workplace safety.

The ongoing study into TCE, led by Dorsey Ray and others, was published in the Journal of Parkinson’s Disease.

Their work is crucial as it adds to our understanding of environmental risks linked to Parkinson’s disease, highlighting the importance of continued research and efforts to safeguard public health.

If you care about Parkinson’s disease, please read studies that Vitamin B may slow down cognitive decline, and Mediterranean diet could help lower risk of Parkinson’s.

For more information about brain health, please see recent studies that blueberry supplements may prevent cognitive decline, and results showing Plant-based diets could protect cognitive health from air pollution.

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