Despite intensive research during the past several decades, the cause of Parkinson's disease remains unknown. Infections, toxins, lifestyle and hereditary factors have all been supposed to play a role in the genesis of Parkinson's disease. The final mechanisms of neuronal injury and death are probably similar, where both genetic and environmental factors are important, and these two factors interact along the etiopathogenic pathway.
The purpose of the present study is to evaluate the role of familial, environmental and occupational factors in the development of Parkinson's disease.
We evaluated 345 cases of idiopathic Parkinson's disease (215 males, 130 females; mean age 62 ± 2 years) and 370 controls (220 males, 150 females; mean age 62 ± 3 years) between January 2003 and January 2008 with regard to the following aspects in detail: place of living, family history of Parkinson's disease and tremor, source of drinking water, exposure to insecticides, pesticides, herbicides and industrial toxins, acute poisoning, CNS infections and head injury. The duration of exposure to the risk factors and the history of Parkinson's disease among the cases were investigated after obtaining written informed consent from cases and controls.
Family history of Parkinson's disease and familial tremor (p = 0.035), exposure to insecticides and pesticides (p = 0.049), well water use for drinking purposes (p = 0.03), Japanese B encephalitis (p = 0.04) and acute organophosphate poisoning (p = 0.046) were associated with the development of Parkinson's disease in this region of India. Further research is needed at the epidemiological, genetic and molecular levels for a better understanding of the etiopathogenesis of Parkinson's disease as well as remedial aspects.