Geographical regions with median levels of air pollutants have a 56 percent higher risk of developing Parkinson’s disease, a US study shows.
Parkinson’s disease, a neurological disorder that has affected an estimated 1.04 million US individuals, is questionably prone to toxin particles.
Britany Krzyzanowski, PhD, a researcher at Barrow Neurological Institute who led the study, said, “Previous studies have shown fine particulate matter to cause inflammation in the brain, a known mechanism by which Parkinson’s disease could develop.”
Krzyzanowski and her team also said that geographical placement is one of the key factors that determines the risk of developing PD. Thus, individuals living in areas with a lower density of pollutants and toxins are at lower risk than those living in regions with heavy pollution rates.
The Medical Journal of the American Academy of Neurology, a study that will focus on national and geographical differences and their effect on Parkinson’s disease, assures to distinguish patterns and connections between regions and the particulate matter that causes the disorder.
The Geographical Importance of Parkinson’s Disease
The study strongly emphasises the importance of geographical placement in acquiring PD.
To visibly understand the difference, Krzyzanowski has pointed to the Mississippi-Ohio River Valley that has been identified as the ‘Parkinson’s disease hotspot’ along with Kansas, parts of Texas, the end of Florida, central North Dakota, and eastern Michigan. Whereas, the western half of America and the people living there stay at lower risk due to less fine particulate in the environment.
Her statement on the issue explains that the composition of the particulate matter is what determines the larger and smaller effects on people living in different regional zones. Although the study has yet to explore different sources of air pollution, the main reason for marking the Mississippi-Ohio River Valley as a hotspot is the high road network.
Heavy combustion, metal particles, and toxins such as deadly gases can cause an exceptionally high risk of developing Parkinson’s.
Data Sourcing and Risk Factors for Developing Parkinson’s Disease
The other part of the study deals with population-based research, stating that a Medicare dataset of nearly 22 million shows 90,000 individuals retaining the disease.
Each of these people was geocoded to their neighbourhood residence, which allowed the researchers to calculate the percentage of PD in every region in the US.
Regions with higher and lower combustion densities are further captured to determine the specific rates of particulate matter as well.
“Population-based geographical studies like this have the potential to reveal important insight into the role of environmental toxins in the development of Parkinson’s disease,”, says Krzyzanowski on the matter.
However, in the progression or sudden growth of PD cases, individuals are also assessed for other risk factors. The following are some of the examples:
- Patient’s age, sex, and race
- Smoking history
- Utilisation of medical care
However, researchers still emphasise the importance of air pollution and its direct link to Parkinson’s. Not only this neurological disorder, but air pollution is known for causing severe other health conditions as well.
With years of research on the growing environmental risks of developing chronic diseases, Krzyzanowski says exposure to pesticides and the contribution of air pollutants still work as the key factors in developing Parkinson’s in most people. Exposures to toxin is what make the disease grow radically in the patients.
It is a matter of grave concern, and the facts do not limit its effects to the United States. The average quality of air in the capital of India went down from 257, which was recorded in 2020.
The New Delhi AQI was recorded at 210 in October between 1 and 29, the Central Control Board says.
Content Credit: ANI