Organochlorine pesticide, PCBs, and Parkinson’s


Principal Investigator:
Alberto Ascherio, Professor of Epidemiology and Nutrition

Department of Nutrition

Dates of Research:
August 1, 2005 — June 30, 2009


This project will study prospectively whether the risk of Parkinson’s disease (PD) is predicted by plasma levels of organochlorine pesticides, polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), and the antioxidant uric acid. The proposed investigation will take advantage of a unique population comprising over 35,000 Finnish men and women who provided blood samples from 1968-1972 as part of a health examination survey and have subsequently been followed for incidence of PD for over 20 years. Between the baseline survey and 1994, 201 new cases of PD have been confirmed in this population. Plasma levels of organochlorine insecticides, PCBs, and uric acid will be assessed among these cases and controls matched by age and gender. Specific hypotheses to be tested include: 1) that higher plasma levels of para, para=-dichlorodiphenyl dichloroethene [p,p=-DDE], the major metabolite of DDT, are associated with increase risk of PD; 2) that higher plasma levels of PCBs are associated with an increased risk of PD; 3) that higher plasma levels of the antioxidant uric acid are associated with a decreased risk of PD and exert a protective effect against the deleterious effects of DDC.