21.06.2024

Chemicals that can cause Parkinson’s REVEALED

Actor said last month that he feared partying too hard in the 1980s could have led to his Parkinson’s disease diagnosis. The 61-year-old, who became an A-lister following the success of Back to the Future in 1985, said he believes drinking and other ‘chemicals’ may have increased his chance of developing the disease.  

Last year, actor and old friend presented Fox with an honorary Oscar. Harrelson said about his friend that ‘we did some damage.’

Though never proven that was the cause, research suggests that a number of recreational drugs can result in symptoms similar to Parkinson’s.

Michael J Fox (pictured) told CBS Sunday Morning that his poor habits and environmental exposures in the 1980s could be responsible for his Parkinson’s diagnosis

The above drugs and chemicals found in common goods have been long tied to the degenerative brain disorder

The above drugs and chemicals found in common goods have been long tied to the degenerative brain disorder

Parkinson’s is caused by the death of nerve cells in part of the brain called the substantia nigra — deep in the organ near the brain stem — which are responsible for producing dopamine.

Dopamine is a vital chemical that acts as a messenger between the parts of the brain and nervous systems that help control and coordinated body movements.

The lack of dopamine causes symptoms such as tremors, slow movements, muscle stiffness, impaired balance, speech changes, and writing changes.

Though researchers are still working to identify direct causes of Parkinson’s, there are several factors that can increase the chance of developing the condition.

‘There’s so many ways that you can, that I could’ve hurt myself. I could’ve hit my head. I could’ve drank too much at a certain developmental period. Most likely I think is, that I was exposed to some kind of chemical,’ Fox told CBS Sunday Morning last month.

Drugs like cocaine, meth, and MDMA affect similar areas of the brain that are impacted by Parkinson’s. There is no suggestion that Fox did any of those drugs, but he has spoken in the past about alcohol and prescription pill addiction after receiving his diagnosis in 1991, when he was just 29 years old.

In 1998, he made his struggle with the disease public, shocking the world as it disrupted his bright acting career.

Exposure to drugs and other environmental toxins, such as chemicals, have been associated with several cases of Parkinson’s:

Illicit Drugs

Illegal drugs have been shown to influence the production of dopamine. A lack of dopamine can cause the symptoms of Parkinson’s, including tremors, slow movements, and muscle stiffness.

Cocaine, for example, has been shown to impair the brain’s dopamine transporter, which causes abnormal concentrations of the chemical.

Research has found that adults who abuse cocaine might increase their risk of developing Parkinson’s, and pregnant women who take the drug could make their children more likely to get the disease.

Cocaine is a type of amphetamine, or stimulant drug meant to speed up messages between the brain and the body.

Legal varieties are typically prescribed for conditions such as ADHD and narcolepsy, a condition where the brain can’t control the ability to sleep or stay awake.

The National Institute on Drug Abuse has reported that amphetamine and methamphetamine use overall can increase the risk of developing Parkinson’s.

Additional research has also investigated the link.

A 2018 study in the journal Neurology, for example, found an association between the two.

Additionally, a 2021 study found inflammatory biomarkers that could predict the development of Parkinson’s in people who had abused amphetamines.

Agent Orange

Agent Orange was primarily used in Vietnam from 1962 to 1975 to remove the foliage from trees. It has also caused lasting damage to veterans

Agent Orange was primarily used in Vietnam from 1962 to 1975 to remove the foliage from trees. It has also caused lasting damage to veterans

Though no longer produced, strong pesticide Agent Orange has been linked to Parkinson’s.

It has not been definitively proven to cause the disease, though the US Department of Veterans Affairs added Parkinson’s to its list of conditions possibly caused by the chemical.

The US military used Agent Orange to clear foliage in Vietnam from 1962 to 1975.

Its main chemical is dioxin, which has been associated with other diseases such as certain cancers, hypothyroidism, heart disease, and diabetes.

Military veterans are the most likely group of people today to have developed Parkinson’s from exposure to Agent Orange.

Trichloroethylene (TCE)

Tricholoroethylene is a common additive in several household items, such as tool cleaners, wipes, aerosol sprays, and carpet cleaners

Tricholoroethylene is a common additive in several household items, such as tool cleaners, wipes, aerosol sprays, and carpet cleaners

Trichloroethylene (TCE) is a colorless liquid used in some household products, such as tool cleaners, wipes, aerosol sprays, paint removers, spray adhesives, and carpet cleaners.

It’s also used in dry cleaning and spot removers. TCE is a known human carcinogen, meaning that it increases the likelihood of developing cancer.

Individuals who work directly with TCE have an increased likelihood of developing Parkinson’s.

In animal studies, TCE has been shown to cause selective loss of dopamine-producing nerve cells, which is a hallmark of the disease in humans.

A small study found that occupational or hobby exposure to TCE was associated with a 500 percent greater risk of developing Parkinson’s.

Use of the substance is prohibited in New York and Minnesota.

Lead

Mostly found in the paint of old homes, lead has been linked to a variety of lasting health effects.

The chemical was once believed to be safe, and used in paint and other products in many homes.

But, research emerged in recent decades linking it to a multitude of health problems.

It can especially be harmful to a young child whose brain is still developing.

Side effects of prolonged exposure in adults include reproductive problems, high blood pressure, hypertension, nerve disorders, memory and concentration problems, and muscle and joint pain, according to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

A 2021 study from the University of California Los Angeles found a link between lead exposure and Parkinson’s by examining long-term exposure to the toxin on changes in DNA.

Additionally, a 1997 report in the journal Neurology found that more than 20 years of occupational exposure to lead plus copper or lead plus iron increased the risk of developing Parkinson’s.

Trichloroethylene (TCE)

Trichloroethylene (TCE) is a colorless liquid used in some household products, such as tool cleaners, wipes, aerosol sprays, paint removers, spray adhesives, and carpet cleaners.

It’s also used in dry cleaning and spot removers. TCE is a known human carcinogen, meaning that it increases the likelihood of developing cancer.

Individuals who work directly with TCE have an increased likelihood of developing Parkinson’s.

In animal studies, TCE has been shown to cause selective loss of dopamine-producing nerve cells, which is a hallmark of the disease in humans.

A small study found that occupational or hobby exposure to TCE was associated with a 500 percent greater risk of developing Parkinson’s.

Use of the substance is prohibited in New York and Minnesota.

Paraquat

Paraquat is a toxic herbicide, or plant killer, used for weed and grass control.

Though widely used in the US, it is banned in 32 countries, including the European Union and China. It was re-approved for use in 2020 by the EPA.

According to the Michael J. Fox Foundation, paraquat can increase the risk of Parkinson’s by 100 to 500 percent.

The Parkinson’s Foundation has signed two letters asking the EPA to cancel paraquat’s registration in the US.

Last December, the EPA agreed to reevaluate the data surrounding the chemical.

The EPA has designated paraquat as ‘restricted use,’ meaning that only people who are licensed can use it.

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