Document Type

STEM

Date

2014

Submission Date

July 2017

Abstract

Parkinson’s disease is a chronic and progressive motor system disorder that is caused by the degeneration of dopaminergic neurons in the central nervous system. At the molecular level, Parkinson’s disease works by decreasing the concentrations of the neurotransmitter dopamine, a chemical messenger involved in motor messaging, within the central nervous system. Low levels of dopamine in the central nervous system causes motor system dysfunction because the insufficient levels of dopamine lead to an inability for neurons to successfully transmit motor messages. At the organismal level, Parkinson’s disease causes tremors, Bradykinesia, and rigidity. These symptoms ultimately lead to a diminished quality of life for individuals suffering from the disease. As a result, the etiology of Parkinson’s disease must be thoroughly examined to help prevent people from acquiring and suffering from the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease. Scientists have extensively researched the etiology of Parkinson’s disease to determine whether it is caused by a genetic or environmental factors. Despite numerous research studies, the absolute etiology of Parkinson’s disease remains unknown. Recent studies, however, support a more prominent environmental etiology for Parkinson’s disease, rather than a biological etiology for the pathogenesis of Parkinson’s disease. This is because researchers have found that agricultural pesticides generally are able to work as neurotoxins, which may degenerate or impede dopamine producing nerve cells if the neurotoxins reach the central nervous system. Therefore, pesticide use in agricultural areas is of great concern because pesticide exposure may increase the risk for the pathogenesis of Parkinson’s disease.

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