Find Information About:

Drugs & Supplements

Get information and reviews on prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and supplements. Search by name or medical condition.

Pill Identifier

Pill Identifier

Having trouble identifying your pills?

Enter the shape, color, or imprint of your prescription or OTC drug. Our pill identification tool will display pictures that you can compare to your pill.

Get Started
My Medicine

My Medicine

Save your medicine, check interactions, sign up for FDA alerts, create family profiles and more.

Get Started

WebMD Health Experts and Community

Talk to health experts and other people like you in WebMD's Communities. It's a safe forum where you can create or participate in support groups and discussions about health topics that interest you.

  • Second Opinion

    Second Opinion

    Read expert perspectives on popular health topics.

  • Community


    Connect with people like you, and get expert guidance on living a healthy life.

Got a health question? Get answers provided by leading organizations, doctors, and experts.

Get Answers

Sign up to receive WebMD's award-winning content delivered to your inbox.

Sign Up

Parkinson's Disease Health Center

Font Size

More Pesticides Linked to Parkinson's Risk

Study also found that genes affect the level of risk

WebMD News from HealthDay

By Robert Preidt

HealthDay Reporter

MONDAY, Feb. 3, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Researchers say they've identified a number of common pesticides that increase the risk of Parkinson's disease, and that they've also discovered that people's genes can affect their level of risk.

In a previous study, the University of California, Los Angeles team found that exposure to a banned pesticide called benomyl increases the risk of Parkinson's. In this new study, the researchers said they identified 11 other pesticides that increase that risk.

The pesticides inhibit an enzyme called "aldehyde dehydrogenase" (ALDH). It converts compounds called aldehydes -- which are highly toxic to brain cells that produce a chemical called dopamine -- into less harmful compounds.

A lack of dopamine causes the tremors, limb stiffness and loss of balance experienced by people with Parkinson's disease, according to the U.S. National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke.

The UCLA researchers also found that people with a common variant of the ALDH2 gene are particularly vulnerable to these ALDH-inhibiting pesticides, according to a university news release. People with the variant are two to six times more likely to develop Parkinson's than those without the variant when exposed to the pesticides.

The levels at which the pesticides inhibit ALDH are much lower than those at which they are currently used, according to the study in the Feb. 5 online issue of the journal Neurology.

It included 360 people with Parkinson's and 816 people without the disease who lived in three central California counties with high levels of agricultural production.

"We were very surprised that so many pesticides inhibited ALDH and at quite low concentrations, concentrations that were way below what was needed for the pesticides to do their job," study author Jeff Bronstein, a professor of neurology and director of movement disorders at UCLA, said in the news release.

"These pesticides are pretty ubiquitous, and can be found in our food supply and are used in parks and golf courses and in pest control inside buildings and homes. So, this significantly broadens the number of people at risk," he added.

Although the study found an association between exposure to certain pesticides and higher risk of Parkinson's disease, it did not establish a cause-and-effect relationship.

Today on WebMD

Parkinsons disease illustration
Causes, symptoms, and treatments.
hands on walker
How does the disease progress?
man with serious expression
8 common questions and answers.
intelligence quotient illustration
What are the advantages of DBS?
Parkinsons Disease Medications
Questions Doctor Parkinsons
Eating Right
Parkinsons Exercise
daughter consoling depressed mother
senior man's hands
Parkinsons Daily