The Genetic and Environmental Effects on Parkinson’s Disease
Aranoff, Nicole Danielle
Yeshiva University, degree granting institution.
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Parkinson’s disease is a widespread and prominent disease affecting many individuals world-wide. Though familial Parkinson’s disease is one way in which the disease manifests itself, genetics only seems to successfully explain 15-25% of all known Parkinson’s disease cases. Therefore, it has been concluded that other causes must exist. In contrast to familial Parkinson’s disease, sporadic Parkinson’s disease is thought to stem from both genetic and environmental factors. There is a vast amount of literature surrounding the effects that many environmental metals and toxicants can have on both the manifestation and exacerbation of this neurodegenerative disease. Additionally, there are a large sum of scientific theories which look beyond the genetic aspects of PD and seek to explore the environmental chemicals and toxicants which seemingly play a significant role in the onset and manifestation of this disease. Some of the most well-known toxicants which were investigated include pesticides, herbicides, and agrochemicals, such as paraquet and maneb, as well as 6-hydroxydopamine and metal toxicants which include, copper, lead and mercury. The ramifications of these environmental toxicants render certain occupations, individual diets, and geographical areas high risk as the likelihood of coming in contact with these toxicants is of much greater significance. Scientists have also focused their studies on the entry point in the body of Parkinson's Disease. The Braak Hyphothesis suggests that sporadic Parkinson’s disease begins in the gut, as opposed to the brain, and spreads throughout the central nervous system. This is crucial because if it begins outside of the brain, the disease might be able to be detected in advance to eradicate or at least slow the process. Although much progress has been advanced in the area of PD and there have been drugs which have proven to mitigate some of the symptoms associated with the disease, there is still much unknown information regarding Parkinson's disease and rendering further research a crucial next step. (from Conclusion)
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