Alarming new research published in the journal Neurotoxicology and Teratology supports the emerging connection between glyphosate, the active ingredient in Roundup herbicide, and neurodegenerative conditions such as Parkinson’s disease and Parkinsonian disorders.
Published this month (April, 2012), the new study entitled “Glyphosate induced cell death through apoptotic and authophagic mechanisms,” investigated the potential brain-damaging effects of herbicides, which the authors stated “have been recognized as the main environmental factor associated with neurodegenerative disorders, such as Parkinson’s disease.”1
They found that glyphosate inhibited the viability of differentiated test cells (PC12, adrenal medula derived), in both dose-and-time dependent manners. The researchers also found that “glyphosate induced cell death via authophagy pathways in addition to activating apoptotic pathways.”
Roundup herbicide is now a ubiquitous contaminant in our air, rain, groundwater, and food, making complete avoidance near impossible. A growing body of experimental evidence now indicates that it in addition to its neurotoxicity it also has the following.
Modes of Toxicity
- Endocrine Disruptor
- Aromatase Disruptor
- Glutathione Down-regulator
- Malondialdehyde Up-regulator
Once marketed as “safe as table salt” by Monsanto, the original patent holder and manufacturer of this glyphosate-based herbicide, evidence now indicates it is toxic to human DNA at concentrations diluted 450-fold lower than used in agricultural applications.
This study only adds to human case reports of glyphosate-poisoning and/or occupational exposure where neurological damage was a direct consequence. A 2011 case study published in the journal Parkinsonism Related Disorders, entitled “Parkinsonism after chronic occupational exposure to glyphosate,” reported the following incident:
Here we report a patient with parkinsonism following chronic occupational exposure to glyphosate. A previously healthy 44- year-old woman presented with rigidity, slowness and resting tremor in all four limbs with no impairment of short-term memory, after sustaining long term chemical exposure to glyphosate for 3 years as a worker in a chemical factory. The chemical plant produced a range of herbicides including: glyphosate, gibberellins, and dimethyl hydrogen phosphite; however, the patient worked exclusively in the glyphosate production division. She only wore basic protection such as gloves or a face mask for 50 h each week in the plant where glyphosate vapor was generated. She frequently felt weak. Two months before she came to our clinic, she had expe- rienced severe dizziness and blurred vision.
Another case study published in 2003 reported a case of parkinsonism subsequent to glyphosate exposure.
These case studies are also backed up by animal research. In the roundworm model of glyphosate exposure the chemical results in neurodegeneration directly associated with damage to the dopamine and GABA producing neurons. In the rat model, glyphosate exposure results in oxidative brain damage, particularly the substantia nigra, where the highest concentration of dopamine-producing cells reside, and which is the primary locus of neurological damage in Parkinson’s disease.
1 Neurotoxicol Teratol. 2012 Apr 4. Epub 2012 Apr 4. PMID: 22504123
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