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Environment, lifestyle, and Parkinson's disease: Implications for prevention in the next decade.

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Published:15th May 2019
Author: Marras C, Canning CG, Goldman SM.
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Ref.:Mov Disord. 2019.

There is evidence from observational studies for a role of a number of environmental exposures and lifestyle habits in modulating the risk for Parkinson's disease. Environmental and lifestyle associations, if causal, represent opportunities for Parkinson's disease prevention or disease modification at individual and population levels. In the past decade, additional evidence has been published that improves causal inference and/or enhances our understanding of the complexity of these associations. A number of gene-environment interactions have been elucidated, and our understanding of the roles of physical activity, pesticide and other chemical exposures, dietary habits, emotional stress, head injury, and smoking has been refined. In the next decade, better techniques will help us to close the gaps in our knowledge, including taking into account Parkinson's disease heterogeneity and gene and risk factor interactions in observational studies.

To do this, larger datasets, global consortia, genomewide environment interaction studies, prospective studies throughout the lifespan, and improvements in the methodology of clinical trials of physical activity will be key. Despite the caveats of observational studies, a number of low-risk and potentially high-yield recommendations for lifestyle modification could be made to minimize the individual and societal burdens of Parkinson's disease, including dietary modifications, increasing physical activity, and head injury avoidance. Furthermore, a reduction in pesticide use could have a major impact on global health related to and beyond Parkinson's disease. Given the increasing prevalence of this disorder, formulating and promoting these recommendations should be a high priority.


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