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What Causes Parkinson’s Disease?

Theories On The Causes Of Parkinson’s Disease

The cause of Parkinson’s disease is unclear, but there is some evidence that genetics, environmental factors, or a combination of both which play a role. It is also likely that the disease has more than one cause. Scientists commonly agree that Parkinson’s disease is caused by a combination of biology and climate in the majority of people who have it.

There is already a tremendous amount of research being conducted in order to find out what causes Parkinson’s disease and if it can be prevented or cured. When doctors diagnose Parkinson’s disease, they often use the word “idiopathic” (ID-ee-oh-PATH-ik).

There are also studies that have linked pesticides and herbicides to Parkinson’s Disease, tremors, and renal failure and paraquat lawsuits are being filed by lawyers in Evansville, Indiana.

Factors of origin of Parkinson’s Disease

Scientists estimate that hereditary factors account for fewer than 10% of Parkinson’s disease cases. The most common genetic effect that causes Parkinson’s disease is a mutation in the LRRK2 gene. The LRRK2 mutation is more common in families with North African or Jewish ancestry. Mutations in alpha-synuclein have also been found to cause Parkinson’s disease, but these are extremely rare. In the majority of cases, no primary genetic cause can be identified. Beate Ritz’s presentation on Genes and the Environment can be seen here.

Environmental considerations

Certain environmental factors, such as prolonged exposure to pesticides or heavy metals, as well as repetitive head injuries, may raise the risk of Parkinson’s disease. Most people do not have a specific environmental cause for their Parkinson’s disease diagnosis, and since several years can pass between exposure to an environmental factor and the start of Parkinson’s disease symptoms, establishing the connection is often difficult. However, it is likely that environmental factors do affect the development of Parkinson’s disease, perhaps more so in people who are also genetically predisposed.

Such potential dangers

Other factors can increase a person’s risk of developing Parkinson’s disease. Since Parkinson’s disease is most often present in adults over the age of 50, age is the most important risk factor (although diagnoses can occur in much younger people). Men are also more likely than women to develop Parkinson’s disease. Caucasians seem to be more affected by Parkinson’s disease than African Americans or Asians. The exact associations between each of these causes and Parkinson’s disease are unknown.


 

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