Parkinson's Disease

Frequently Asked Questions

10. What role do environmental factors play in the development of Parkinson's?

Although researchers increasingly recognize the importance of genetics in Parkinson's disease, most believe environmental exposures increase a person's risk of developing the disease. Even in inherited cases, exposure to toxins or other environmental factors may influence when symptoms of the disease appear or how the disease progresses.

There are a number of toxins that can cause parkinsonian symptoms in humans, including pesticides and herbicides. Viruses are another possible environmental trigger for Parkinson's. Scientists are pursuing the question of whether other environmental factors not yet identified also may cause Parkinson's disease.