ARIZONA NEWS

Valley researchers find link between pollution and Parkinson’s disease

Nov 13, 2023, 6:43 AM | Updated: 11:34 am

map that shows a correlation between pollution and Parkinson's disease...

A recent national study from Valley-based Barrow Neurological Institute found that people living in areas with median levels of air pollution are at greater risk for developing Parkinson’s Disease. (Barrow Neurological Institute Photo)

(Barrow Neurological Institute Photo)

PHOENIX — A recent national study from Valley-based Barrow Neurological Institute found that people living in areas with median levels of air pollution have a higher risk for developing Parkinson’s disease.

Parkinson’s disease is a slowly progressing disorder that affects the body’s nervous system. Tremors are a common initial symptom, but it can also cause stiffness and restricted movement initially. It is not curable but can be treated with medication.

The study was led by Brittany Krzyzanowski, a researcher at Barrow. She explains more about what they were exactly looking for.

“First, we wanted to identify the Parkinson’s disease hotspots in the nation and then we also wanted to test the association between air pollution and Parkinson’s disease risk,” Krzyzanowski said.

The study was inspired by previous research from the lab that indicated there were higher rates of the disease in the Midwest U.S.

“What we found is that the Parkinson’s disease hotspots were primarily located in the south-east portion of the U.S. This is an area that has some of the highest levels of air-pollution in the nation,” Krzyzanowski explains.

She and other researchers found that areas with median levels of air pollution are at a 56% increased risk of Parkinson’s disease compared to people living in areas with the lowest pollution.

Barrow reported this is the first time a nationwide link has been established between Parkinson’s disease and air pollution. In Phoenix, there’s some good and bad news that comes out of this study, according to a press release.

The good news is on average, general risk for Parkinson’s disease is 19% lower in the city of Phoenix compared to the rest of the nation.

The bad news is that there’s still a lot of variation in the Valley when it comes to how much pollutants specific neighborhoods are exposed to.

While other cities may have more pollution, Phoenix’s air quality is still characterized by pollutants from heavy traffic on Valley streets and highways.

“When you move from one neighborhood that has low air pollution to another neighborhood that has high air pollution…This seems to have a more meaningful impact on your risk for Parkinson’s disease,” Krzyzanowski said.

The study relied on neighborhood-specific data, and she said that shows those variations even if the overall region has better-than-average air quality.

There are apps available to track air pollution, and in Maricopa County that can also be done online.

“So if you’re worried about your exposure to air pollution, and maybe you’re part of a vulnerable communities. You can find ways to mitigate your exposure to air pollution by being visualing of air quality alerts in your area. And and you know, limiting your time outdoors when it’s advised,” she said.

Krzyzanowski believes this information shows the need for more research into the link between Parkinson’s disease and air pollution, even in those areas that don’t have “bad” levels of pollution.

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Pass it along to the KTAR News team here.

Arizona News

Jamarr Dwayne Young, pictured above, is 33, authorities said. (Maricopa County Sheriff's Office pho...

KTAR.com

Man accused of domestic violence killed bicyclist while fleeing from authorities, Phoenix police say

An Arizona man was arrested after allegedly killing a pedestrian while fleeing from Phoenix police, authorities announced on Friday.

59 minutes ago

Casita bill, or HB 2070, passed in Arizona House...

Serena O'Sullivan

Arizona House Democrat explains how ‘casita bill’ can help fight the state’s housing shortage

The so-called "casita" bill was passed by the Arizona House of Representatives on Wednesday. Rep. Analise Ortiz breaks down the benefits.

2 hours ago

north-korean-fraud...

Nick Borgia

Arizona woman accused of involvement in major North Korean fraud scheme

An Arizona woman is being prosecuted for allegedly assisting in North Korean fraud schemes to place overseas IT workers in U.S. positions.

3 hours ago

Peoria wants to build out a future airpark similar to the Scottsdale Airpark, pictured here, with a...

Audrey Jensen/Phoenix Business Journal

Peoria Airpark project could create thousands of jobs, millions in revenue

Plans for a new regional airport and employment center in Peoria could generate nearly 8,000 jobs and millions of dollars in revenue for the municipality, according to a study released this month.

6 hours ago

Authorities released these images from a 2022 assault in Gilbert in January 2024. An arrest was mad...

KTAR Video

Video: SHORT: Why are prosecutors cutting deals with youth violence suspects and alleged Gilbert Goons?

Some of the young adults arrested in connection with violent gang-related attacks in the East Valley are getting deals from prosecutors. Chris Merrill shares his thoughts.

7 hours ago

...

KTAR Video

Video: Why are prosecutors cutting deals with youth violence suspects and alleged Gilbert Goons?

Some of the young adults arrested in connection with violent gang-related attacks in the East Valley are getting deals from prosecutors. Chris and Joe wonder how victims and others experiencing youth violence feel. Video: Jeremy Schnell and Felisa Cárdenas/KTAR News

7 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

...

Condor Airlines

Condor Airlines can get you smoothly from Phoenix to Frankfurt on new A330-900neo airplane

Adventure Awaits! And there's no better way to experience the vacation of your dreams than traveling with Condor Airlines.

...

Midwestern University

Midwestern University Clinics: transforming health care in the valley

Midwestern University, long a fixture of comprehensive health care education in the West Valley, is also a recognized leader in community health care.

...

Collins Comfort Masters

Here’s 1 way to ensure your family is drinking safe water

Water is maybe one of the most important resources in our lives, and especially if you have kids, you want them to have access to safe water.

Valley researchers find link between pollution and Parkinson’s disease