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Pesticide tied to Parkinson's disease

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8:55pm, October 18, 2004

From New Orleans, at the annual meeting of the Society for Neuroscience

Epidemiologists have long suspected that exposure to some pesticides promotes the development of Parkinson's disease. Basic chemistry supports that view: The molecular structure of MPTP, a toxic compound that in animals causes a condition similar to Parkinson's disease, is related to that of several pesticides.

A study on rotenone, a plant-derived pesticide commonly used in organic gardening, now adds more evidence for the connection. Prolonged administration of rotenone into the jugular veins of rats produces tremors, an unsteady gait, and other symptoms comparable to those of Parkinson's disease, J. Timothy Greenamyre of Emory University in Atlanta and his colleagues reported in New Orleans and in the December Nature Neuroscience.

The researchers also found that the pesticide kills the same subgroup of brain cells that normally dies during the course of disease. Furthermore

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