For years the medical and health industry has been working to show the detrimental health problems that arise as the result of mold, and researchers have just discovered a link between mold and Parkinson’s disease.
A team of scientists from Rutgers and Emory Universities were able to find that organic compounds from mold can be a potential cause of Parkinson’s.
It’s important to note that relatively little about the root of Parkinson’s is known, but in prior studies, it’s been shown that a number of factors including genetic and environmental triggers may play a role in its development.
The research shows there may be a link between a particular fungal compound, which is mushroom alcohol, and the symptoms of Parkinson’s.
During the Rutgers study, fruit flies were exposed to chemicals emitted from mold, and the mushroom alcohol chemical had an immediate impact on the flies. Flies exposed to mushroom alcohol began displaying symptoms including tremors, a slower gait, and locomotion problems.
Once scientists explored mushroom alcohol more deeply, they also found it was able to block two genes that regulate dopamine. Dopamine is a naturally occurring chemical allowing for communication between nerve cells.
Researchers pointed out that fruit flies in the experiment were only exposed to chemicals at the basic level that would occur in a moldy building. They weren’t experienced to a super dense concentration of chemicals, although that would be the amount that would likely be present in a moldy building.
The small amounts of mold that are naturally occurring wouldn’t likely be enough to trigger these problems, including neurological problems, but serious health concerns arise when people are exposed to mold on a continuous basis, particularly in enclosed rooms or basements.
One of the co-authors of the study is Joan Bennett. For Bennett, the subject matter of the research is highly personal because she was a teacher at Tulane University during Hurricane Katrina. As a result of the devastating hurricane, Bennett’s house developed mold and fungus.
Bennett has said she was aware of the so-called sick building syndrome that occurs as a result of moldy buildings, but she didn’t relieve believe in its impact until she began developing symptoms including nausea and headaches, when her home was affected by mold.
The research is particularly important because there have been previous studies showing individuals exposed to moldy buildings have developed a range of neurophysiological problems and movement disorders. Many studies have also shown rising cases of Parkinson’s disease in rural locations, and while medical professionals have been quick to link this to pesticides, in general there’s also a lot of mold exposure in rural areas as well.
Mold isn’t just a cosmetic problem. As research continues to grow in the realm of mold exposure and its potential dangers, it’s becoming more and more important for people to eliminate this dangerous concern from their homes.
Posted on 11/05/2013 at 12:00 AM
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