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Pesticides Tied to Increase Risk of ALS

| May 12, 2016, 09:43 AM

 

Evolve Medical provides primary care and urgent care to Annapolis, Severna Park, Arnold, Davidsonville, Gambrills, Crofton, Edgewater, Pasadena and Glen Burnie.

In a new report published in JAMA, pesticides have been linked to ALS (also known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease). ALS,

many readers will recall,  is the fatal neurological disease which spawned the “Ice Bucket Challenge” Facebook event a few years back. “We are identifying these toxic, persistent, environmental pollutants in higher amounts in ALS patients compared to those who do not have ALS,” said Dr. Goutman. 

 

The study, published May 9th in JAMA Neurology, was conducted between 2011 and 2014 and funded in part by the CDC. In this study, Dr. Stephen Goutman of University of Michigan’s ALS Clinic evaluated 156 patients with ALS and compared them to 128 without ALS. 

 

 

They found that 3 toxins in particular were associated with greater risk for developing ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis), the progressive condition which has affected famous people such as Stephen Hawkings, David Neven, Mao Zedong, Jon Stone (aka Cookie Monster and Big Bird creator), Charles Mingus and Lead Belly and Morrie Schwartz (subject of Tuesdays with Morrie) and of course Lou Gehrig. 

What is ALS?

ALS, or amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and the spinal cord. A-myo-trophic comes from the Greek language. “A” means no. “Myo” refers to muscle, and “Trophic” means nourishment – “No muscle nourishment,” according to the ALS Association. There is no cure and the condition leads to death. 

According to the Mayo Clinic, early signs and symptoms of ALS include:Evolve Medical provides primary care and urgent care to Annapolis, Severna Park, Arnold, Davidsonville, Gambrills, Crofton, Edgewater, Pasadena and Glen Burnie.

  • Difficulty walking, tripping or difficulty doing your normal daily activities
  • Weakness in your leg, feet or ankles
  • Hand weakness or clumsiness
  • Slurring of speech or trouble swallowing
  • Muscle cramps and twitching in your arms, shoulders and tongue
  • Difficulty holding your head up or keeping a good posture

The disease frequently begins in your hands, feet or limbs, and then spreads to other parts of your body. As the disease advances, your muscles become progressively weaker. This weakness eventually affects chewing, swallowing, speaking and breathing.

Is this definite proof?

It is very important to emphasize that this study doesn’t prove pesticides cause ALS, but it does build on an association suggested in previous research, Goutman said. According to the Director of the ALS clinic at Mass General, Dr. Merit Cudkowicz, the new study “raises possibilities of the association of certain pesticides and ALS, but is far from certain.”

Though both Dr. Goutman and Dr. Cudkowicz were careful to qualify the results as being far from certain, they both recommended avoiding pesticides, particularly the 3 found in the study and particularly if one has a family history of ALS. Scientist believe that diseases like these probably have both a genetic factor and an environmental trigger. 

In addition to ALS, there is some evidence to suggest that Parkinsons also may be related to an environmental exposure. 

What were the 3 pesticides specifically identified?

Evolve Medical provides primary care and urgent care to Annapolis, Severna Park, Arnold, Davidsonville, Gambrills, Crofton, Edgewater, Pasadena and Glen Burnie.
Persistent exposure to these 3 pesticide increased risk of ALS in the JAMA study: 

  • Cis-chlordane (pesticide) increased ALS risk nearly sixfold.
  • Pentachlorobenzene (used in the manufacture of fungicides) doubled the odds for ALS.
  • Polybrominated diphenyl ethers (flame retardant in furnishings and textiles) raised the risk by about 2.7 times.

 

If you have any questions about ALS or the above symptoms, see your primary care physician.  Evolve Medical is also happy to see you. Same day scheduling on-line here or call 844-322-4222. Or email them at [email protected].

If you find these health and wellness updates helpful, follow Evolve Medical on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or Google+.

Evolve Medical provides primary care and urgent care to Annapolis, Severna Park, Arnold, Davidsonville, Gambrills, Crofton, Edgewater, Pasadena and Glen Burnie.

Evolve Medical provides primary care and urgent care to Annapolis, Severna Park, Arnold, Davidsonville, Gambrills, Crofton, Edgewater, Pasadena and Glen Burnie.

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About the Author - Evolve Direct Primary Care

Evolve Direct Primary Care and Virtual Urgent Care is Annapolis’ highest rated urgent care and primary care. Designed for busy people tired of long waits and rushed providers. The peaceful, healing atmosphere is designed to reflect their emphasis on patient respect, convenience as well as excellence in care. Evolve offers virtual urgent care visits for only $95 or monthly membership in Direct Primary Care for as little as   $49/mo.  Members receive their primary and urgent care either free or at heavily discounted prices. Members enjoy more time with their provider, unprecedented access, caring staff and providers — and save money with or without insurance.  Evolve also helps patients save money by finding less expensive medications, avoiding unnecessary procedures and tests and improves help by cutting down on the medical errors which are so common elsewhere. Find out why everyone loves Evolve: www.emc4me.com or call 844-322-4222.

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