Nothing is good enough

Even pesticides based on herbal extracts can affect brain functioning

Published: Friday 31 December 2004

Rotenone, an organic pesticide made from the extracts of tropical plants, can cause Parkinson's disease among human beings, shows a recent study. The finding is alarming, as organic chemicals like rotenone are being extensively promoted in India and elsewhere to combat the adverse effects of conventional pesticides.

J Timothy Greenamyre from the US-based Emory University along with researchers from the University of Washington, USA, demonstrated that rotenone could cause Parkinson's among monkeys. "The animals have a brain structure similar to humans. Our study on monkeys, therefore, supports the claim that chronic pesticide exposure may cause 'Parkinsonian pathology' in humans," says Greenamyre.

During the study, two monkeys were exposed to rotenone over a period of 18 months and 19 months respectively, after which Parkinson's-like symptoms developed. Greenamyre's similar experiment on mice conducted four years ago showed similar results.

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