High Fruit Consumption Increases Risk of Parkinson’s

A new study shows high fruit consumption may increase a person’s risk of Parkinson’s disease.

Researchers in Honolulu tested more than 8,000 subjects and recorded the number of diagnosed Parkinson’s cases for a 34-year period. Results showed increased fruit and fruit drink consumption led to a higher Parkinson’s risk.

Researchers believe this risk exists because of plant-born toxins and pesticides found in some fruits.

Despite the findings, most experts still recommend consuming fruit for health benefits. “High fruit intake is still an important protective factor against many chronic diseases,” says Andre Grandinetti, Ph.D., of the University of Hawaii.

Previous studies have suggested a link between supplemental vitamin C intake and the risk of Parkinson’s, but the new study found no correlation between the two.

Parkinson’s disease occurs when chemicals responsible for transmitting different signals between parts of the brain are damaged. The disease causes trembling, muscle rigidity and impaired speech.

Parkinson’s affects more than 1 million people in the United States. The most common drug used to treat the disease is levodopa, but doctors are also using new surgical procedures, such as deep brain simulation, to improve patients’ prognosis.

The results of this most recent study are still being evaluated. Grandinetti is quoted as saying, “Further research into the role of food-born toxins may provide clarity as well as insight into the etiology and prevention of Parkinson’s.”

SOURCE: American Academy of Neurology, Honolulu, March 19-April 5,2003

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