Air pollution increases risk of Parkinson’s disease by 56%, scientists warn

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NEW YORK, BRONX (ORDO News) — A recent study from the Barrow Neurological Institute found a significant association between living in areas with moderate levels of air pollution and an increased risk of developing Parkinson’s disease.

The study, published in the medical journal Neurology , aimed to identify national geographic patterns in Parkinson’s disease and test for an association with fine particulate matter.

The study found that living in regions with average levels of air pollution was associated with a 56% increased risk of developing Parkinson’s disease compared to residents of regions with the lowest levels of air pollution.

This finding supports previous research showing that fine particulate matter causes inflammation in the brain, a known mechanism in Parkinson’s disease.

Interestingly, the study also found that the link between air pollution and Parkinson’s disease varies by region. The Mississippi-Ohio River Valley, as well as central North Dakota, parts of Texas, Kansas, eastern Michigan and the tip of Florida have been identified as hot spots for Parkinson’s disease.

On the other hand, residents of the western half of the United States had a lower risk of developing Parkinson’s disease than the rest of the country.

According to Brittany Krzyzanowski, Ph.D., lead researcher, regional differences in the risk of developing Parkinson’s disease may reflect differences in the composition of particulate matter.

In some regions, particulate matter may contain more toxic components than in others.

For example, the Mississippi-Ohio Valley and Rust Belt have relatively high road and industrial density, which may contribute to elevated levels of traffic particulates and heavy metals that have been linked to cell death in areas of the brain involved in development of Parkinson’s disease.

Dr. Krzyzanowski emphasizes the significance of the study’s findings: “Using state-of-the-art geospatial analysis techniques, we were able to confirm for the first time a strong nationwide association between Parkinson’s disease cases and fine particulate matter in the United States.”

This study highlights the importance of understanding the impact of air pollution on neurological health and suggests that reducing air pollution levels may potentially reduce the risk of developing Parkinson’s disease.


News agencies contributed to this report, edited and published by ORDO News editors.

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