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Parkinsons Disease

Did You Know?

Parkinson's Disease is a progressive movement disorder that affects more than 1 million Americans. Although genetics can account for some cases, 80 percent of sufferers lack a family history of the disease.

Manganese and Parkinson's disease have been linked in a number of studies done around the world. People who work with manganese often suffer from a variety of symptoms, known as Manganism, which experts have classified as a Parkinson's syndrome. The disease is diagnosed by a doctor certified in neurology or in occupational medicine. Many doctors are unaware of the link between welding and Parkinson's disease.

Parkinson's Disease - Department of Internal Medicine

The Department of Internal Medicine and Clinical Pathology at the National Taiwan University Hospital found several cases of parkinsonism after there was an outbreak due to an unrepaired ventilation control system in a ferromanganese smelter. Parkinsonism is commonly mistaken for Parkinson's Disease due to the signs appearing the same as a person with Parkinson's Disease, including tremors, stiff muscles, or slow movements.

It is unknown why Parkinson's disease occurs and how the neurons become impaired, but there is evidence that continues to correlate manganese exposure to the disease. Many doctors are unaware of the link between occupational hazard of manganese, especially with welding, and Parkinson's Disease, allowing the disease to progress without treatment. There are certain treatment options for Parkinson's to allow those suffering to live with the disease easier. Currently, no known prevention or cure for Parkinson's Disease.

Scientists recently reported that welding might trigger the early onset of Parkinson's Disease. A research team led by neurologist Brad A. Racette, M.D., found that professional welders developed typical clinical and neurological signs of the disease an average of 15 years earlier than the general population. The study was featured in the professional journal Neurology with an accompanying editorial.

Parkinson's Symptoms

Symptoms of manganese-related Parkinson's include tremors, lethargy, impaired concentration, speech difficulties and awkward gait. Parkinson's from manganese exposure continues to progress clinically even years later, when traces of manganese can no longer be detected in the body. Workers in the welding industry are especially at risk, as they are often exposed to airborne manganese, and Parkinson's disease is disproportionately common among this population.

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