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New Risk Factors for Parkinson’s Disease Identified

Posted Aug 23 2012 10:09pm
Posted on Aug. 22, 2012, 6 a.m. in Parkinsons Disease Infectious Disease

Parkinson's Disease (PD) is a brain disorder that causes tremors and difficulty with movement and walking, and most commonly affects people over the age of 50. University of British Columbia (Canada) have revealed two new risk factors for the disease.  M. Anne Harris and colleagues interviewed 403 Parkinson's patients and 405 healthy counterparts residing in British Columbia, Canada.  The team found that severe influenza doubles the odds that a person will develop Parkinson's disease later in life. Further, they revealed that people who contracted a typical case of red measles as children – they are 35 per cent less likely to develop Parkinson's Disease.   In a separate study, the researchers also examined whether occupational exposure to vibrations – such as operating construction equipment – had any effect on the risk of Parkinson's. They report that occupational exposure actually decreased the risk of developing the disease by 33%, compared to people whose jobs involved no exposure. However, those exposed to high-intensity vibrations – for example, by driving snowmobiles, military tanks or high-speed boats – had a consistently higher risk of developing Parkinson's, as compared to people whose jobs involved lower-intensity vibrations (for example, operating road vehicles).

M. Anne Harris, Joseph K. Tsui, Stephen A. Marion, Hui Shen and Kay Teschke.  “Association of Parkinson's disease with infections and occupational exposure to possible vectors.”  Movement Disorders, 2 July 2012.  M. Anne Harris, Stephen A. Marion, John J. Spinelli, Joseph K. C. Tsui, Kay Teschke.  “Occupational Exposure to Whole-Body Vibration and Parkinson's Disease: Results From a Population-based Case-Control Study.” Am. J. Epidemiol. , July 12, 2012.

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