Air Pollution And Parkinson’s Disease: Doctor Explains Why Some People Are At High Risk

Air Pollution And Parkinson's Disease: Doctor Explains Why Some People Are At High Risk
Air Pollution And Parkinson’s Disease: Doctor Explains Why Some People Are At High Risk

Dr Kuldeep Kumar Grover elaborates that risk of Parkinson’s disease increases due to particulate matter. They are so tiny that they can easily enter the brain by breaching the blood-brain barrier.

Written by Kinkini Gupta |Updated : November 28, 2023 7:33 PM IST

A new study claims to find a legitimate link between air pollution and Parkinson’s Diseases and its progression. What is Parkinson’s disease? It is a neurodegenerative disorder which affects movement and muscle function in the body. It happens when the human brain looses the dopamine-producing neurons in the brain. After conducting a detailed study, researchers have found that, people who live in areas with median level of air pollution are at high risk than people living in less or non-polluted regions. The risk is almost 56 % high.

What Did The Study Find?

There have been numerous research and studies based on Parkinson’s disease and air pollution. The research stated based on earlier findings that, inflammation in the brain is mainly caused by particulate matter. Particulate matter are only present in plenty in regions with very high pollution level. But, this is one major risk for the development and progression of Parkinson’s disease. This new study aims to find out the regions where Parkinson’s disease could be high risk. Their study is based on the geographical patterns of the disease. What did they find?

  1. For the first time in history, experts confirmed a conclusive link between the two especially in the region of United States.
  2. Risk of this disease in high where particulate matter is high.
  3. Geographical areas which have more combustion particles resulting from high traffic, presence of industries and heavy metals are linked to the death of cells in one part of the brain associated with Parkinson’s disease.

Link Between Air Pollution And Parkinson’s Disease

Dr Kuldeep Kumar Grover, Head of Critical Care and Pulmonology, CK Birla Hospital, Gurugram spoke to explaining the link further.

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Air pollution can also cause inflammation in the brain leading to cell injury. Pollutants can be dangerous to the nervous system and cause inflammation, which can increase the accumulation of alpha-synuclein – a protein found in the brain that plays a key role in Parkinson’s and decrease the number of dopaminergic neurons. Exposure to air pollution causes about 25% increased risk of Parkinson’s disease. If people are exposed to air pollutants for a very long term, the risk may increase. Moreover, exposure to certain specific types of particulate matter like (PM2.5), nitric dioxide could be the risk factor. Doctor says that these air pollutants are very small and can easily enter the bloodstream and then the brain by breaching the blood-brain barrier.

Many air pollutants generate reactive oxygen species, leading to oxidative stress, which is an imbalance between the production of free radicals and the body’s ability to counteract their harmful effects. The brain is particularly vulnerable to oxidative damage, and oxidative stress is considered a key factor in the pathogenesis of Parkinson’s disease. Airborne pollutants can directly or indirectly activate immune responses in the brain, resulting in neuroinflammation. This process can contribute to the degeneration of dopaminergic neurons, characteristic of Parkinson’s disease.

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