STATES CHRONICLE – We are lucky for the huge amounts of medical research going on these days. Cures and treatments for an assortment of otherwise fatal diseases are being developed as we speak as you’re reading this. But there are some diseases that are, for the time being, not only incurable, but also unpreventable. Looking at one of those, scientists link Parkinson’s to pesticide found in milk.
Researchers from the Shiga University of Medical Science in Otsu, Japan performed a study on 449 Japanese-American, with an average age of 54, using research from the Honolulu-Asia Aging Study.
The men were followed until death, for more than 30 years. Upon death, their bodies were autopsied, and their brains examined.
The study was meant to link the apparition of Parkinson’s in people who drank milk contaminated by a pesticide called heptachlor epoxide, found in milk in early 1980s in Hawaii. The pesticide was found in the milk because it was used intensely in the ‘80s on pineapples, and pineapples are a very common feed for cows in Hawaii.
The researchers looked in the substantia nigra area of the brain, and found large amounts of brain cells missing that are, as much as up to 40 percent fewer. The brains were also scanned for residue from the heptachlor epoxide toxin.
The disappearance of the brain cells is a precursory sign of Parkinson’s and it can appear decades before the onset of the disease.
Results came back confirming the researchers’ suspicions. In the men who drank 16 ounces of milk each day, they found the brain cells missing, as well as large quantities of the pesticide residue.
The toxin was found in 90 percent of the brains belonging to the participants that drank milk, even though the researchers had no way of knowing if they had drunk contaminated milk or not. The study was observational, so no cause-effect could be established between drinking milk and Parkinson’s, but the link was obvious.
The only milk-drinking subjects not suffering from the loss of the brain cells were those participants that happened to be smokers.
Smoking has been known for some time to reduce the chances of developing Parkinson’s, however researchers are not sure why.
The researchers advise not to stop consuming milk however, as no causal relation was found between the calcium-rich drink and the awful disease. Not only that, but the pesticide they were researching hasn’t been used for decades, and it was mostly prevalent in Hawaii.
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