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Neurodegenerative Diseases
Working Group

CHE Neurodegenerative Diseases is a working group of over 200 health professionals, scientists, and concerned individuals interested in exploring the emerging environmental health science suggesting that certain environmental toxins may be associated with a spectrum of health outcomes, rather than just one specific disease or disability. For example, some pesticides may contribute to a range of neurodegenerative diseases, including Parkinson's, Alzheimer's and dementia (not to mention neurodevelopmental disorders, like learning disabilities, as well as reproductive health issues and various cancers).

This group has a listserv for the purpose of sharing new research, policy ideas, and discussion of related science. Additionally the working group occasionally hosts teleconferences featuring leading researchers speaking to neurodegenerative diseases and environmental health topics (links to past calls available below).

The goals of this working group are:

  1. to explore potential links between neurodegenerative diseases and exposures to environmental contaminants
  2. to provide a discussion forum that is conducive to the interaction between researchers, health care providers, community groups and people affected by neurodegenerative diseases
  3. to translate research into accessible language for the broader community; and
  4. to explore opportunities for collaboration to strengthen research on health promotion and disease prevention for neurodegenerative diseases.

This working group builds on the excellent work already undertaken by members of CHE Parkinson’s Disease, a former CHE working group, such as the Scientific Consensus Statement on Parkinson's Disease and the Environment, and related fact sheets. We also welcome new participants whose expertise may focus on other neurodegenerative problems and who would like to have a forum to discuss scientific findings related to environmental contributors and their implications for health.

Elise Miller, MEd, CHE director, and Ted Schettler, MD, MPH, CHE science director and also science director of the Science and Environmental Health Network, co-coordinate CHE Neurodegenerative Diseases.

If you are interested in joining this group, please sign on as a CHE Partner, and indicate your interest on the form. If you are already a CHE Partner and would like to join the listserv for this group send an email request to: cheneurodegen-subscribe@lists.healthandenvironment.org

Past Calls

February 26, 2008 --

CHE Partnership Call - Alzheimer's: An Ecological Health Disease?
Background Information/Resources

Call Blog

Listen to the MP3 Recording

Resources

6/2/09: Parkinson's: The Pesticide Link

Scientists are closing in on the inescapable conclusion: Pesticides may be the cause of Parkinson's disease

Read article 

6/2/09: Jackie Christenseon writes on living with Parkison's Disease in "I Can Speak For Myself, If You'll Let Me Do So" - Washington Post

When people first meet me, they may not be able to tell that I have Parkinson's disease. I'm 45, and the average age at diagnosis is 55 to 60. (I was 34 when my case was diagnosed.) I don't really have a tremor, and in 2006, I underwent deep brain stimulation, a procedure that controls most of the wriggling and writhing movements that I had been experiencing. But once I open my mouth to speak, it often becomes apparent that there is something going on.

It may be that the rigidity of my throat and chest muscles has made my voice soft and lacking inflection. Stiffness in my facial muscles can give me a blank expression or, even worse, make me seem angry or aloof. I may sound like I am trying to talk with a mouthful of marbles. The problem that bothers me the most -- because it seems to be especially disconcerting to others -- is the halting quality that my voice frequently takes on, especially if I'm nervous or upset. It's . . . as . . . if . . . what . . . I . . . want . . . to . . . say . . . has . . . to . . . be . . . squeezed . . . from . . . my . . . brain . . . to . . . come . . . out . . . of . . . my . . . mouth . . . as . . . individual . . . word . . . bubbles.

More >>
1/6/09: Meeting Report: Consensus Statement on Parkinson's Disease and the Environment

Environmental Health Perspectives

Full text: http://www.ehponline.org/members/2008/11702/11702.pdf

Abstract
Background: Parkinson's disease (PD) is the second most common neurodegenerative disorder. People with PD, their families, scientists, health care providers, and the general public are increasingly interested in identifying environmental contributors to PD risk.

Methods: In June 2007, a multidisciplinary group of experts gathered in Sunnyvale, California, USA, to assess what is known about the contribution of environmental factors to PD.

Results: We describe the conclusions around which they came to consensus with respect to environmental contributors to PD risk. We conclude with a brief summary of research needs.

Conclusions: PD is a complex disorder, and multiple different pathogenic pathways and mechanisms can ultimately lead to PD. Within the individual there are many determinants of PD risk, and within populations, the causes of PD are heterogeneous. Although rare recognized genetic mutations are sufficient to cause PD, these account for < 10% of PD in the U.S. population, and incomplete penetrance suggests that environmental factors may be involved. Indeed, interplay among environmental factors and genetic makeup likely influences the risk of developing PD. There is a need for further understanding of how risk factors interact, and studying PD is likely to increase understanding of other neurodegenerative disorders.

10/23/08: NEW REPORT - Environmental Threats to Healthy Aging

This report, put out by the Science and Environmental Health Network and Greater Boston Physicians for Social Responsibility, examines the substantial impact environmental factors have on how we age.

Report website: www.AgeHealthy.org

The October CHE Partnership Call featured report co-authors Dr. Ted Schettler and Dr. Jill Stein, along with commentator Dr. Peter Whitehouse, and explored this fascinating and critically important topic. An MP3 recording of the call and many other resources are available on the call webpage

More >>
10/20/08: NEW -- Consensus Statement on Parkinson's Disease and the Environment

On Oct 20, 2008, the Collaborative on Health and the Environment Parkinson's Disease Working Group, together with Parkinson's Action Network, released the Consensus Statement on Parkinson's Disease and the Environment. We encourage you to download, read and spread the word about this important document and the related documents included below.

Consensus Statement on Parkinson's Disease and the Environment - Executive Summary [PDF]
Collaborative on Health and the Environment (CHE) and Parkinson's Action Network (PAN)

    -- Press Release [PDF] --

    -- Full Consensus Statement As It Appeared in Environmental Health Perspectives, Aug 2008 [PDF] --

Parkinson's Disease Public Statement - What Scientists Know and Want to Know [PDF]

Parkinson's Disease Fact Sheet
[PDF]

More >>
Potato fields, pesticides and Parkinson's
Repeated pesticide exposures may cause Parkinson's disease in individuals who are probably genetically predisposed to the disease.
More >>
Selected References on Carbon Monoxide and Parkinsonism/Parkinson’s Disease - 13 August 2007
More >>
CHE PD Website Login Instructions - May 24, 2007
More >>
PARKINSON’S DISEASE AND THE ENVIRONMENT -- February 14, 2007
A factsheet developed by CHE's Working Group on Parkinson's Disease and the Environment
More >>
A Case-control Study of Parkinson's Disease in a Horticultural Region of British Columbia -- August 1, 2006
More >>
Pesticides and Parkinson's -- Is There A Link? -- April 13, 2006

Environmental Health Perspectives, Terry P. Brown, Paul C. Rumsby, Alexander C. Capleton, Lesley Rushton and Leonard S. Levy
http://www.ehponline.org/members/2005/8095/8095.pdf

More >>
Age-Adjusted Death Rates for Parkinson Disease (United States, 1973-2003) -- February 21, 2006
Annual U.S. death rates for Parkinson disease increased during 1973--2003. Parkinson disease became the 14th leading cause of death in the United States in 2003. This increase might be attributable to multiple factors, including an aging population, greater awareness of the disease, and improved identification of cases.
More >>
Searches for Parkinson's Disease and Pesticides and Various Metals and Other Chemicals -- February 9, 2006

The following are the search results from Lynn E. Carroll, Ph.D., TEDX, Inc. (The Endocrine Disruption Exchange) tedx@tds.net.
Parkinson's Disease and Pesticides (PDF)
Parkinson's Disease and Metals (PDF)
Parkinson's Disease and Solvents, Etc. (PDF)

 

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