Can We Bring an End to Parkinson’s Disease?

What is the fastest-growing neurological disease? No, it is not Alzheimer’s. It is Parkinson’s.

Parkinson’s disease (PD) is growing at an alarming pace, putting it on a path to become a pandemic. Today there are an estimated 6.1 million people with PD. Experts predict that number to more than double to 12.9 million by 2040. Why is it growing so fast and what can we do about it?1

Reducing the cases of PD

The book published last summer titled Ending Parkinson’s Disease: A Prescription for Action, by Ray Dorsey MD, Todd Sherer PhD, Michael Okun MD, and Bastiaan Bloem MD, PhD, tackles these issues and suggests ways to reduce the numbers drastically.

According to the authors, the pesticide Paraquat and the chemical TCE (Trichloroethylene), a degreaser used in many industries, are both known man-made causes of Parkinson’s. Increased life expectancy also contributes to the rise in PD, while genetic causes, which are getting the most research dollars, are a somewhat small percentage of the total.1

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Reducing, and hopefully eliminating, the use of Paraquat and TCE will make a huge difference in the numbers of new cases of PD. So what can we do?

Be an advocate

The book has created a movement, PD Avengers, whose goal is to advocate for eliminating the use of pesticides such as Paraquat and chemicals like TCE. PD Avengers wants to recruit 1 million people to its ranks to advocate for the ban on known chemicals that cause PD.

That 1 million includes people with Parkinson’s, their families and care partners, doctors, other health care workers, and researchers. We all need to be advocates to create change.

According to Doctor Ray Dorsey, one of the authors, no movement in health care led by doctors has succeeded. It is the grassroots organizations, which are patient-driven, that have succeeded through advocacy.

They have made it their mission to advocate in Congress and other governments to provide funding to find the causes and better treatment for illnesses such as Polio, AIDS, and Breast Cancer.2

PD and pesticide use

The prevalence of PD is higher in industrialized countries. TCE use is increasing around the world. Up to 30 percent of groundwater in the US is contaminated with TCE, eventually making its way into the food we eat.2

Paraquat is banned in a number of countries, including Great Britain, which manufactures and exports it to the US and other countries. Eliminating the use of both would make an enormous difference long term in reducing the number of people who develop Parkinson’s and other neurological diseases that are caused by these chemicals. 2

In addition, there are huge disparities in diagnosis and treatment options around the world, especially in non-industrialized countries. People in third-world countries often have little or no knowledge of the disease and many of their doctors don’t know how to treat it.

As the use of TCE and Paraquat increase in these countries, steps need to be taken now to keep Parkinson’s from becoming a pandemic.

How to get involved

Read the book, Ending Parkinson’s Disease, which is now available in paperback. Join PD Avengers today at and recruit others to join with you so that we can reach 1 million advocates.

Together we can end Parkinson’s disease. We cannot do it without you!

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

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