Parkinson's Disease and the Environment

Front Neurol. 2019 Mar 19;10:218. doi: 10.3389/fneur.2019.00218. eCollection 2019.


Parkinson's disease (PD) is a heterogeneous neurodegenerative disorder that affects an estimated 10 million sufferers worldwide. The two forms of PD include familial and sporadic, and while the etiology of PD is still largely unknown, the condition is likely to be multifactorial with genetic and environmental factors contributing to disease genesis. Diagnosis of the condition is attained through the observation of cardinal clinical manifestations including resting tremor, muscle rigidity, slowness or loss of movement, and postural instability. Unfortunately, by the time these features become apparent extensive neurological damage has already occurred. A cure for PD has not been identified and the current therapy options are pharmaceutical- and/or surgical-based interventions to treat condition symptoms. There is no specific test for PD and most diagnoses are confirmed by a combination of clinical symptoms and positive responses to dopaminergic drug therapies. The prevalence and incidence of PD vary worldwide influenced by several factors such as age, gender, ethnicity, genetic susceptibilities, and environmental exposures. Here, we will present environmental factors implicated in sporadic PD onset. By understanding the mechanisms in which environmental factors interact with, and affect the brain we can stride toward finding the underlying cause(s) of PD.

Keywords: Parkinson's disease; demographical; environmental; heavy metals; illicit drugs; pesticides.

Publication types

  • Review