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Clin Neurol Neurosurg. 2002 Sep;104(4):328-33.

Environmental risk factors of young onset Parkinson's disease: a case-control study.

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  • 1Neuroscience Laboratory, Department of Neurology, China Medical College Hospital, 2, Yuh-Der road, 404, Taichung, Taiwan, ROC.


While the cause of Parkinson's disease (PD) remains unknown, recent evidence suggests certain environmental factors, such as well water drinking, herbicides and pesticides exposure, and neurotoxins, may trigger the chain of oxidative reactions culminating in the death of dopaminergic neurons in substantia nigra to cause parkinsonism. Most studies to date focused on PD with old age onset. However, there is a peculiar group of parkinsonian patients, the young onset Parkinson's disease (YOPD), in whom the age of onset is before 40. It is intriguing to know whether earlier exposure to the putative neurotoxin(s) may contribute to the earlier onset. We therefore conducted this case-control study in which 60 PD patients, 30 YOPD patients and the same number of age- and sex-matched young controls were included. Using logistic regression, we found well water drinking and head injury were risk factors for the development of YOPD. When YOPD patients were compared with PD, we found head injury and exercise were the significant predictors. Keeping all other variables constant, head injury was a risk factor and exercise appeared to be a protective factor. We conclude early exposure to well water drinking and head trauma may trigger and expedite the appearance of parkinsonian features, but such acceleration may be prevented through regular exercise.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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