A new study finds an intriguing link between contaminants found in milk and the risk of developing the brain disorder
Studies have found a connection between the consumption of dairy products and a higher risk of developing Parkinson disease, the neurodegenerative disorder that affects motor neurons in the brain. While researchers speculated that chemicals found in cows’ milk might be responsible, there was little evidence to detail how dairy products like milk and cheese might be affecting people’s risk of the disease.
Now, scientists may have uncovered a promising clue. Reporting in the journal Neurology, Robert Abbott, from Shiga University of Medical Science in Japan, and his colleagues took advantage of an environmental scandal in Hawaii in the 1980s to investigate the connection. At the time, an organochlorine pesticide used by pineapple farmers made its way into the milk supply when cows were fed a gruel made in part from the pineapple debris. Coincidentally, there was also a study of heart disease among Japanese-American men begun then that involved more than 8,000 men who were followed from mid-life to death. All provided detailed information about what they ate, including how much milk they drank, and some agreed to donate their brains for research upon death.