HEALTH

Study finds correlation between pollution and Parkinson’s disease

Nov 14, 2023, 12:00 PM

After starting the new year with less-than-desirable air quality, Utah may finally be able to take ...

FILE - Smog covers Salt Lake City. (Photo: Ravell Call,/Deseret News.)

(Photo: Ravell Call,/Deseret News.)

SALT LAKE CITY — Utah winters often come with bad air quality days. Brittany Krzyzanowski, a geographer and researcher with Barrow Neurological Institute, said polluted air may be putting people at risk for Parkinson’s disease.

A study found a positive correlation between high levels of air pollution and people with Parkinson’s disease.

“So, what we noticed is that these hotspots of Parkinson’s disease aligned really well with the maps of air pollution,” Krzyzanowski told KSL NewsRadio. “Living in neighborhoods that had the median level of air pollution, they had a 56% greater risk of Parkinson’s disease.”

The research showed that Utah has a low correlation between pollution levels and Parkinson’s. However, Krzyzanowski said we still need to be mindful of air pollution. She noted that moving from a neighborhood with low air pollution to one with higher air pollution can still elevate your risk. 

The hot spots of the correlation are in the Southeastern part of the United States.

What the study covers

According to Barrow’s website, the study was geography and population-based. It spanned nearly 90,000 people with Parkinson’s.

The report noted the authors had yet to explore the different sources of air pollution. 

“Regional differences in Parkinson’s disease might reflect regional differences in the composition of the particulate matter. Some areas may have particulate matter containing more toxic components compared to other areas,” Krzyzanowski said in her report.

Additionally, Krzyzanowski said many studies conducted focus on other environmental risk factors of Parkinson’s disease. This study showed that air pollution should also be focused on. 

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Study finds correlation between pollution and Parkinson’s disease