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A new Harvard study has linked pesticide exposure to a 70% increase
in Parkinson's disease. The study, which is the largest ever
conducted, was released in the July 2006 issue of the Annals
of Neurology. This research backs up earlier animal studies
linking pesticide exposure to brain and nerve damage. The amount
of exposure did not matter, as farm workers and everyday home
bug-sprayers all had the same increased risk. The study did
not correlate the increased risk with any specific pesticides,
but rather found the connection in overall general use of pesticides.
"This is certainly the biggest and most serious populations
study on people, and it appears to be the best proof today that
there is a general association between pesticide and Parkinson's
among people," said Robin Elliot, executive director for
the Parkinson's Disease Foundation in New York City, describing
the findings as "important and solid." Learn
A new study in the Lancet medical journal (UK) suggests that
variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (vCJD), the human variant
of Mad Cow Disease, may not peak in the human population for
several decades, by which time many thousands of beef eaters
and hospital patients that have received tainted blood transfusions
could die. The study shows how Kuru, a similar fatal brain-wasting
prion disease in New Guinea, has been found to have an incubation
period of 35 to 41 years. Researchers suspect it could be longer
for vCJD because the infection is transmitted between species,
from cows to humans. The 160 fatal human cases of the disease
that have already surfaced around the world could represent
a distinct genetic subgroup of the population with an unusually
short incubation period, according to John Collinge, the study
leader and a professor at University College, London. There
could be "substantial underestimations" in recent
estimates of the size of the vCJD epidemic, Collinge said in
a report in The Lancet medical journal. Learn more: /old_articles/2006/article_889.cfm
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