New Scientist – COMMON PESTICIDE MAY CAUSE PARKINSON’S

Rats that are given small doses of a common pesticide develop symptoms that are eerily similar to Parkinson?s Disease. “It?s a very provocative study,” says Abraham Lieberman, medical director of the National Parkinson Foundation in Miami.

While genetic factors are thought to be the cause of Parkinson?s in people under 50, this isn?t true for late-onset Parkinson?s, which is the most common form of the disease, so researchers have looked for environmental causes.

Earlier this year, a study of 1000 people found that those who often used pesticides at home had a 70% higher risk of getting Parkinson?s. A University of California study revealed that California counties with the most pesticide use also had the most deaths from the disease.

The pesticide being blamed for this is called rotenone, which is a natural insecticide extracted from plant roots and is used by some organic farmers.

ANTIBIOTIC USE IN POULTRY CAN LEAD TO UNTREATABLE HUMAN INFECTIONS

Meanwhile, American poultry farmers are still pumping their birds full of antibiotics, which create drug-resistant bacteria that can cause untreatable gastric illnesses in humans, according to the FDA. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration, as well as the British poultry industry, have encouraged farmers to cut back on antibiotic use, but neither country has plans to ban the practice.

Several years ago, a turkey farm in England was studied. It was found that workers at the farm were resistant to the antibiotic given to the turkeys at the farm, meaning that this drug would not be effective if they needed it for treatment of an infection. This didn?t surprise the researchers, but what did surprise them was this: the majority of the people living in the nearby town, who did not work at the turkey farm, were also resistant to the antibiotic!

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