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University of Washington

Superfund Research Program

Environmental and Biological Risk Factors for Parkinson's Disease

Project Leader: Harvey Checkoway (University of California-San Diego)
Grant Number: P42ES004696
Funding Period: 1995 - 2009

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Project Summary (1995-2000)

Parkinson's disease (PD) is a chronic neurological disease that is a significant contributor to morbidity and mortality, especially among older age groups. There is a growing body of information that PD may be linked to environmental exposures, possibly including chemicals found at hazardous waste sites, and that there may be groups in the population who are particularly susceptible to these environmental insults. This study is designed to explore both facets of the ecogenetics of PD, the elucidation of environmental risk factors and biochemical susceptibility risk profiles. The study is extended by enlarging the study size and adding biochemical/genetic markers of potential risk susceptibility. New aspects of the study are a more in-depth molecular biology approach to characterize host susceptibility profiles and an increased focus on the previously seen inverse relation of PD with cigarette smoking. Ultimately, it is hoped that this study will add new information that can be used to prevent PD by means of reducing or eliminating causative environmental exposures, and by identifying the segments of the population who are most vulnerable to PD induction.

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