(NaturalNews) According to the National Parkinson Foundation, about 1.5. Americans currently have Parkinson's Disease (PD) -- the motor system disorder which afflicts actor Michael J. Fox. Another 60,000 or so people in the U.S. will be diagnosed with PD in 2009. The four main symptoms of this often devastating disease are trembling in the hands, arms, legs, jaw, and face; rigidity, or stiffness of the limbs and trunk; bradykinesia (slowness of movement) and impaired balance and coordination. As the disease progresses, people with PD may have difficulty walking, talking, and swallowing.
NaturalNews has previously reported (http://www.naturalnews.com/026177_disease_Pa...) how research is pointing more and more to a "smoking gun" behind Parkinson's. It appears PD doesn't just strike at random. Instead, it is most likely triggered by chemicals in the environment that are literally toxic to the human brain. Now a new study has zeroed in on one specific suspect -- a pesticide called B-hexachlorocyclohexane (B-HCH).
Used widely in the United States from the 1950s through the 1970s in agriculture, the chemical was also found until fairly recently in the insecticide lindane, used as a treatment to kill fleas and ticks on pets and lice in humans. Even if you've never treated a dog or cat with lindane or worked in agriculture, the odds are you've still been exposed to the toxin. Banned in the l970s, B-HCH is a dangerous contaminant that won't go away -- it is still found as a contaminant in water and soil.
Now a team of researchers have found it in human blood. What's more, they've identified elevated serum levels of the pesticide in patients with Parkinson's disease, strongly raising the possibility this specific pesticide is tied in to the development of PD.
The study, just published in the Archives of Neurology, involved team work led by Jason R. Richardson, PhD, assistant professor of environmental and occupational medicine at University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey (UMDNJ) Robert Wood Johnson Medical School and resident member of the Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences Institute, and Dwight C. German, PhD, professor of psychiatry at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, Dallas, Texas. The scientists measured the levels of 16 pesticides in blood samples from patients with PD or Alzheimer's disease. They also searched for pesticides in blood collected from a control group with no known neurological diseases.
All three groups of research subjects were found to have about the same levels of 15 pesticides. But when it came to B-HCH, it was a different story. B-HCH was found in 76 percent of the patients with Parkinson's, 40 percent of the control group patients and 30 percent of the patients with Alzheimer's. What's more, not only was B-HCH found more frequently in PD patients, the amount of B-HCH in the blood of the Parkinson's Disease patients was much higher .
"Previous studies established the link between pesticides and neurodegenerative diseases, but most had not identified specific pesticides that may be associated with an increased risk of developing Parkinson's," Dr. Richardson said in a press statement. "This discovery provides a foundation upon which to research the precise implications of B-HCH's role in the cause of the disease and how B-HCH's levels may be affected by other possible factors such as genetic disposition and lifestyle choices."
"We hope additional research will not only help identify people who may be at risk before symptoms of the disease appears, enabling earlier detection of the disease, but also advance the development of therapies to slow or prevent neurodegeneration caused by Parkinson's," Dr. Richardson added.
Anyone interested in natural and healthy living might also hope this research will spur common sense efforts to halt further contamination of the planet's water, air and food supply with pesticides and other chemicals, too (http://www.naturalnews.com/026566_disease_ni...).