COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Researchers seeking a cause for dementia in patients with Parkinson's disease have discovered that the combination of a defective gene and exposure to pesticides may increase a person's risk for developing the dementia.
A study found that a group of Parkinson's patients whohad a particular mutant gene, or allele, and who were exposedto pesticides in the past, were three times more likely to develop dementia than Parkinson's patients who lacked the two factors. About one out of every five Parkinson's patients develops dementia.
"The gene alone, coupled with environmental exposure, turned out to be a potent risk factor for Parkinson's with dementia in a group of patients with the disease," said Jean Hubble, clinical associate professor of neurology at Ohio State University.
According to the study, published in a recent issue of Neuroepidemiology, potential risks for developing Parkinson's disease with dementia (PD+D) include pesticide exposure and at least one defective copy of a gene called CYP 2D6 29B+. This gene activates a series of enzymes in the liver that metabolize and detoxify chemicals that get into the body.
Parkinson's disease is a muscular disorder that causes a
person to lose control of coordination. It also causes tremors,
poor balance, slowness and stooped posture. These
Contact: Jean Hubble
Ohio State University