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Science / Medicine : Parkinson’s Environmental

<i> From Times staff and wire reports</i>

Parkinson’s disease is more likely to be environmentally caused rather than inherited, according to a new study by Finnish researchers. The disease, which affects as many as 1.5 million Americans, is characterized by severe tremors, rigidity of the limbs, slow movements and stooped posture. Its cause is unknown.

Neurologists at the University of Turku and the University of Helsinki studied the medical records of 16,000 sets of twins born in Finland before 1958 and found 42 cases of Parkinson’s. In only one instance did both members of a pair of twins develop the disease.

If the disease did have an inherited component, the researchers said in the current issue of the journal Neurology, both twins should have developed Parkinson’s in a much higher percentage of the cases. The results suggest the disease is environmental in origin.


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