A recent study by researchers at UCLA discovered new details in the link between Parkinson’s Disease and traumatic brain injuries (TBI). In addition, this discovery lead to a greater understanding of a link between the disease and one of the most commonly used herbicides in the world: paraquat.
Anyone can suffer a TBI, either in a car crash, playing a sport, slip and fall or other accident. The latest research shows even mild TBI can cause long ranging neurological damage like Alzheimer’s disease or Parkinson’s, and dramatically increases the risk of stroke. This new study shows just how TBI can cause Parkinson’s disease.
Details of the Study
In the UCLA study, rats given a moderate TBI suffered a 15 percent loss in nigrostriatal dopaminergic neurons, which progressed to a 30 percent loss after 26 weeks. Loss of this specific neuron is what causes the tremors and diminished motor control associated with Parkinson’s disease. Combining this with exposure to paraquat, a common herbicide, the loss of the neuron happened much faster.
Additionally, once initial damage has taken place, the victim is more susceptible to secondary injury. Since TBI and paraquat decrease dopamine related neurons, the threshold for damage is lowered with every subsequent accident or exposure.
Prior to the study, TBI and paraquat have been associated with Parkinson’s disease but the exact link was unknown. This study reveals how they increase the risk for developing the disease and may shed light on future treatments.
You May Be at Risk
If you have suffered a TBI or been exposed to paraquat, you may face an increased risk for developing Parkinson’s disease. A TBI can be caused by any hit to the head or neck, or even a hard stop during rapid movements – often called “whiplash.” Some signs of TBI include:
Paraquat is highly toxic and its use is restricted to commercially licensed professionals. It is dyed blue, has a sharp scent and an added chemical to immediately induce vomiting if swallowed. Inhalation or absorption through the skin can also cause damage, although ingesting it is the most likely and most potent exposure.
If you have suffered a TBI or been exposed to paraquat, you may be at greater risk for Parkinson’s disease or other medical problems, and entitled to compensation. Please contact us today. Our experienced attorneys offer a free consultation to help you determine your best course of action.