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Environmental factors that influence the risk of developing Parkinson’s have long fascinated researchers as the offer the opportunity to generate testable hypotheses about what could be causing/influencing the condition.
These environmental factors are typically explored via epidemiological studies that look at the behaviour and environmental interactions of large groups of people, including some who have developed Parkinson’s.
Recently, one such study has been reported and the results point towards a curious influencer: Snus
In today’s post, we will discuss what snus is, we will review the results of the new study, and consider the implications for Parkinson’s.
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Lund. Source: Northabroad
One of the most fortunate experiences of my life was being invited to do my PhD research in a small academic city called Lund in Sweden. I will be forever grateful to the people of Sweden for offering this opportunity and to Matt Maingay whose kind words paved the way for me.
I loved my years in Lund. I worked like a dog (7 days per week, volunteering for everything, last one to leave the lab – that sort of stuff), and my time there had an incredible impact on my life (for one thing, I met my wife in Lund).
Lund. Source: Themayor
During my time in Sweden, it was also a real pleasure to learn about the country, the people, and the culture. I sampled as much of it as I could – from trying to learn the language to visiting ‘mythical’ Landonia (a stunning coastal micronation made entirely of driftwood):
Landonia – wondrous! Source: Wikipedia
There were a couple of features of Swedish life, however that I struggled to adopt. First, eating Surströmming was not for me (not once, but twice I tried). Surströmming is lightly-salted, fermented Baltic Sea herring, and the key word there is “fermented“. It is an acquired taste, that’s all I will say.
Surströmming. Source: Rove
Second, I never developed a habit for snus.
What is snus?
Continue reading “Let’s talk snus use” →
In an effort to better understand Parkinson’s, researchers have repeatedly analysed data from large epidemiological studies in order to gain insight into factors that could have a possible causal influence in the development of the condition.
This week a manuscript was made available on the preprint website BioRxiv that provided us with a large database of information about aspects of life that are associated with increased incidence of Parkinson’s.
Some new associations have been made… and some of them are intriguing, while others are simply baffling!
In today’s post, we will have a look at what has been learnt from epidemiological research on Parkinson’s, and then discuss the new research and what it could mean for Parkinson’s.
What are the differentiators? Source: Umweltbundesamt
What makes me different from you?
Other than my ridiculous height and the freakishly good looks, that is. What influential factors have resulted in the two of us being so different?
Yes, there is the genetics component playing a role, sure. 7,500 generations of homo sapien has resulted in a fair bit of genetic variation across the species (think red hair vs brown hair, dark skin vs light skin, tall Scandinavians vs African pygmies, etc). And then there are aspects like developmental noise and epigenetics (factors that cause modifications in gene activity rather than altering the genetic code itself).
And over-riding all of this, is a bunch of other stuff that we generally refer to simply as ‘life’. Habits and routines, likes and dislikes, war and famine, etc. The products of how we interact with the environment, and how it interacts with us.
But which of all these factors plays a role in determining our ultimate outcome?
It is a fascinating question. One that absorbs a large area of medical research, particularly with regards to factors that could be influential in causing a specific chronic conditions.
What does this have to do with Parkinson’s?
Continue reading “The Parkinson’s association-‘s’” →