Hershey, Dauphin County, Pa. - Penn State researchers believe they've discovered a link between a pesticide and Parkinson's disease.
Paraquat was widely used as a weed killer, before being banned in the U.S. in 2007.
Researchers at the Penn State College of Medicine experimented with paraquat and lectins, proteins found widely in nature and also in uncooked vegetables, dairy, and eggs. They found that when mice were given paraquat and those proteins, they developed symptoms of Parkinson's.
Thyagarajan Subramanian, professor of neurology and neural and behavioral sciences was a co-author on the study.
He said, "This study gives solid evidence that lectins, while in the presence of certain toxins, may be one potential culprit for the cause of Parkinsonism,” Subramanian said. “Additionally, this animal model can be a tool in the future to continue developing new medications and treatments for Parkinson’s disease.”