In the United States each year another 50,000 to 60,000 people are newly diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease, according to the National Parkinson Foundation.
In the disorder, neurons in a part of the brain known as the substantia nigra become damaged or destroyed, affecting the production of the neurotransmitter dopamine. The resulting loss of dopamine leads to symptoms such as tremors, slowed movement, impaired balance and muscle rigidity. To understand what causes the damage to these neurons, researchers have begun looking at possible environmental factors that could contribute to the onset of the disorder.
A new study from the University of California, Los Angeles looked at possible environmental factors that patients with Parkinson’s disease may have been exposed to earlier in life. The study included 357 individuals who had recently been diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease and 754 control subjects who lived in the same area.
All the participants were asked if they had ever had a traumatic brain injury, which was characterized by a loss of consciousness for at least five minutes. The study’s authors reported that among the patients with Parkinson’s disease, 12% had a history of a head injury. In comparison, only 7% of the control subjects had had a head injury.
The study thus found a higher correlation between traumatic brain injuries earlier in life and the devastating problems associated with Parkinson’s later in life. The researchers say they believe that such brain injuries serve as moderate risk factors for future development of the disorder and, as such, should be carefully guarded against.
Given the terrible, life-altering risks associated with traumatic brain injury, including the possible development of Parkinson’s, it is important that those in Georgia suffering from a head injury receive immediate medical attention and continue to follow-up with therapy as needed. What may appear to be a minor problem could actually be the start of a serious brain injury. That is why all head injuries should be checked by a skilled doctor, just to make sure there are no long-term effects.
Pope McGlamry P.C., currently represents former professional football players for injuries and damages sustained as a result of suffering concussions while playing football, and is actively involved in this litigation. If you or someone you love has been injured by a sports-related concussion, you may be entitled to compensation.
Source: “Head injury, pesticides tied to Parkinson’s disease,” by Reuters, published at FoxNews.com.