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While the cause of Parkinson's disease (PD) remains unknown, evidence suggests certain environmental factors, such as well water drinking, herbicides, pesticides exposure and neurotoxins, may trigger the chain of oxidative reactions culminating in the death of dopaminergic neurons in substantia nigra to cause Parkinsonism. To investigate the possible impact of environmental risk factors for idiopathic PD, a case-control study was performed in the Eastern India.
During the period from January 1st, 2006 and December 10th, 2009, 175 PD patients (140 men, 35 women) and 350 non-Parkinson age-sex matched controls were included in the study. Subjects were given a structured neurological examination and completed an administered questionnaire which elicited detailed information on demographic data, pesticides, herbicides family history, occupation, dietary and smoking habits.
The multivariate analysis revealed that family history of PD, pesticide exposure, exposure to toxins other than pesticides and herbicides, rural living and previous history of depression were associated with increased risk of PD, whereas, smoking appeared to be a protective factor. Well water drinking for at least five years, though a significant risk factor on univariate analysis (OR=4.5, 95% CI=2.1-9.9), could not be proved significant in multivariate analysis. Head trauma, vegetarian dietary habit, occupation involving physical exertion and exposure to domestic pets were not as significant risk factors.
Results of our study support the hypothesis of multifactorial etiology of PD with environmental factors acting on a genetically susceptible host.
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