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Pesticides and Neurodegenerative Disorders 

Pesticides and Neurodegenerative Disorders
Chapter:
Pesticides and Neurodegenerative Disorders
Author(s):

John W. McBurney

DOI:
10.1093/med/9780190490911.003.0008
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date: 20 September 2017

Neurodegenerative diseases, which are characterized by neuronal degeneration, include Alzheimer disease (AD), Parkinson disease (PD), and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). Their worldwide prevalence is increasing as the global population ages. The causes reflect interactions between genetics and environmental factors such as increasing urbanization, industrialization, and widespread use of chemicals, including insecticides, fungicides, and herbicides. Epidemiologic data suggest that exposure to many of these pesticides increases the risk of neurodegeneration. The best-defined mechanism for this association is mitochondrial toxicity resulting in increased reactive oxygen species. In PD and AD, the associated accumulation of aggregates of insoluble, misfolded proteins results in the formation of Lewy bodies and neurofibrillary tangles, respectively. Pesticide exposures can be reduced by modifying food choices and applying integrated pest management in schools, businesses, and homes. Medical professionals can counsel patients about limiting exposure to pesticides and decreasing the risk of neurodegenerative disorders.

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