New Research Suggests That Environmental Toxins, Whether Inhaled Or Ingested, Might Trigger Parkinson’s Disease And Result In Various Distinct Subtypes

Sean A E/ - - illustrative purposes only, not the actual person

Approximately 1 million people in the United States are living with Parkinson’s disease, and this figure is projected to rise to 1.2 million by 2030, according to the Parkinson’s Foundation.

This brain disorder leads to involuntary movements and tremors. Over time, it can also progressively impair abilities like walking and talking.

Each year, about 90,000 Americans are diagnosed with Parkinson’s, so as the number of cases increases, experts are investigating the causes behind the disorder.

Now, a new study conducted by researchers at the University of Rochester suggests that environmental toxins, whether inhaled or ingested, might trigger the disease, potentially resulting in various distinct subtypes of Parkinson’s.

This theory expands on the “brain-first vs body-first” model of Parkinson’s. According to this model, the onset of the disease can occur in one of two primary locations: the brain, specifically starting from the olfactory bulb, which is responsible for smell, or the body, beginning within the gut’s nervous system.

“In both the brain-first and body-first scenarios, the pathology arises in structures in the body closely connected to the outside world,” explained Dr. Ray Dorsey, the study’s co-author.

“Here we propose that Parkinson’s is a systemic disease and that its initial roots likely begin in the nose and in the gut and are tied to environmental factors increasingly recognized as major contributors, if not causes, of the disease,” Dr. Dorsey continued.

“This further reinforces the idea that Parkinson’s, the world’s fastest-growing brain disease, may be fueled by toxicants and is therefore largely preventable.”

From these initial locations, the progression of the disease is characterized by accumulations of a protein known as alpha-synuclein, which spreads in a predictable pattern.

Sean A E/ – – illustrative purposes only, not the actual person

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