Pesticide/Parkinson’s Connection and Other News of Note
Posted on Friday, December 5th, 2008
Pesticide Linked to Disease in Valley (Modesto Bee)
For years, researchers have suspected commercial pesticides put people at risk for Parkinson’s disease. Now evidence in the San Joaquin Valley suggests it’s true.
Researchers have found a strong connection between the debilitating neurological disease and long-term exposure to pesticides, particularly to a fungicide that is sprayed on thousands of acres of almonds, tree fruit and grapes in the valley.
The fungicide ziram, the 20th most-used agricultural toxin in California in 2006, emerged as a common factor in a UCLA study of 400 people with Parkinson’s in the valley.
“People exposed over a 25-year period to ziram have about a threefold increased risk of developing Parkinson’s,” said Jeff Bronstein, professor of neurology and head of the Movement Disorder Center at UCLA.
Exercise or Sleep? Which Is More Important? (Cranky Fitness)
A study by the National Cancer Institute found that exercising can reduce a woman’s risk of cancer by as much as 20 percent. Researchers did not find the exact link between cancer risk and physical activity, but believe it might lie in the fact that exercise affects hormone levels, immune function and body weight.
However, researchers found that exercise can’t help if a woman does not get a good night’s sleep.
It Takes Guts to Build Bone (ScienceDaily)
Bone growth is controlled in the gut through serotonin, the same naturally present chemical used by the brain to influence mood, appetite and sleep, according to a new discovery from researchers at Columbia University Medical Center. Until now, the skeleton was thought to control bone growth, and serotonin was primarily known as a neurotransmitter acting in the brain.
Fast Food Diet Linked to Alzheimer’s (Foodnavigator-usa)
Mice that were fed for nine months on the diet, which represents the nutritional content of most fast food, developed abnormalities in the brain similar to those observed in the brains of Alzheimer’s patients, said the study published in a doctoral thesis from the Swedish medical university Karolinska Institutet (KI).
The research offers some indication of the role that diet could play in prevention of the disease which currently affects an estimated 5.2m Americans.
Happiness Spreads Like the Plague (New Scientist)
Like an influenza outbreak, happiness – and misery too – spread through social networks, affecting people through three degrees of separation. For instance, a happy friend of a friend of a friend increases the chances of personal happiness by about 6%….
Compare that to research showing that a $5000 income bump ups the odds by just 2%, says James Fowler, a political scientist at the University of California, San Diego, who led the new study.