The most rapidly expanding brain disease in the world, Parkinson’s, may be caused by a widely used and widely available chemical, according to new research.
Trichloroethylene (TCE) has been utilized as a decaffeinator, degreaser, and dry cleaner for over a century. TCE has been linked to an increased risk of Parkinson’s disease of 500%, as well as to cancer, miscarriages, and congenital heart defects.
Researchers from all over the world, including neurologists from URMC like Ray Dorsey, MD, Ruth Schneider, MD, and Karl Kieburtz, MD, propose that TCE is a hidden cause of Parkinson’s in a hypothesis paper published in the Journal of Parkinson’s Disease.
Seven people, including a former NBA basketball player, a Navy captain, and a late U.S. Senator, all developed Parkinson’s disease after likely working with or being exposed to the chemical, and their stories are told in the paper, which also details the widespread use of the chemical and the evidence linking the toxicant to Parkinson’s.
“Despite widespread contamination and increasing industrial, commercial, and military use, clinical investigations of TCE and PD have been limited,” the authors explained in their study.
“Here, through a literature review and seven illustrative cases, we postulate that this ubiquitous chemical is contributing to the global rise of PD and that TCE is one of its invisible and highly preventable causes. Further research is now necessary to examine this hypothesis.”