The effects of pesticides on the brain

The effects of pesticides on the brain

The effects of pesticides on the brain can be particularly severe with prolonged exposure. The chemical industry withdraws hundreds of products, which have been approved and put on the market every year. Many of them seemed safe, but they actually have high levels of toxicity.

Pesticides are a broad group of heterogeneous chemical compounds. They are mainly used to kill insects, weeds, fungi and rodents. Although they produce a public profit by increasing productivity in agriculturethey pose a health risk because of their potential adverse effects.

Today, we are exposed to a multitude of chemicals. However, not all cases have sufficient laboratory studies to rule out the possibility of toxic effects. It may also happen that the pesticide alone does not cause damage to the body, but that the mixing of various components can have devastating long-term consequences.

On the other hand, the effects of pesticides are particularly serious for children. Exposure to polluting chemicals, even at low levels, can affect the development of their brains. This happens even during the gestation process. If this situation continues over time, various areas may be affected. These substances can even contribute to the development of disorders such as attention deficit disorder and autism.

The developing brain is very vulnerable to the effects of chemicals. As a result, pesticides that spray in our environment, even at low levels of exposure, can produce permanent sequelae.

The effects of pesticides on the brain: the first studies

Silent spring, the book of biologist and ecologist Rachel Carson, was published in 1962. It is considered the first work that has contributed to the awakening of modern environmental consciousness. This book warned, for the first time, against the harmful effects of pesticides on the environment and caused such concern that the US government was forced to ban the use of DDT, yet very popular with time.

During the 1970s and 1980s, several studies were published on the effects of pesticides on the brain. For example, groups of scientists have shown that prolonged exposure to organochlorine pesticides causes changes in the central nervous system (CNS). In most cases, there were learning and memory deficits. In addition, motor and behavioral disorders also appeared in the subjects studied.

Early studies of the effects of pesticides on the brain have revealed that they cause central nervous system disorders.
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The consequences of prolonged exposure to pesticides

Pesticides can be toxic to humans and animals. Some toxins are so strong that only a small amount is needed to be deadly. However, there are less aggressive toxins that do not cause immediate damage. Their danger comes from the fact that they are capable of causing long-term damage.

It is necessary to understand that Pesticide toxins can stay in the body for a long time. The body can react in different ways. This will depend on several factors: the duration of exposure, the type of pesticide and the personal resistance to chemicals.

Pesticides and Alzheimer's disease

The study of this neurodegenerative disease continues to attract researchers from around the world. Fortunately, we are more and more advanced in the understanding of this pathology.

In a study published in the journal JAMA Neurology, the importance of the environment in Alzheimer's disease is underlined. This research concluded that exposure to a pesticide such as DDT increases the risk of developing this disorder.

This type of pesticide was banned in 1971 in France, used until the mid-1970s in the United States and until 2008 in Spain. In that country, the use of this substance to manufacture dicofol, a type of pesticide, continued to be permitted.

In order to link pesticides to Alzheimer's disease, a study was conducted in two groups of patients suffering from this neurodegenerative disease. From the conclusions obtained, it can be deduced that subjects with Alzheimer's disease with high levels of pesticides in the blood have developed more serious cognitive deterioration than subjects in the control group. Those in this second group had developed the disease, but had "clean" blood.

These data on the effect of pesticides on the brain are very attractive.However, this link would explain only a few cases of Alzheimer's disease, not all. Nevertheless, it is one of those that shows most clearly that there is a correlation between pesticides and this neurodegenerative disease.

Pesticides and autism

Although autism has a significant genetic component, the environmental component also plays an important role. One of the risk factors that increase the risk of developing this disorder is exposure to pesticides during pregnancy. For example, in a study at the University of California, exposure to pesticides and other compounds during pregnancy was linked to the development of this disease.

The conclusion drawn by these researchers is that pesticide exposure can alter the methylation of placenta DNA, far more than the other factors studied. This can change the functioning of this organ and alter the development of the child. This increases the risk of developing autism spectrum disorders exponentially.

Pesticides and Parkinson's disease

Parkinson's disease is a chronic neurodegenerative disease. It is caused by the destruction of the neurons that act in the central nervous system, without us really knowing the causes. They use dopamine as the main neurotransmitter, responsible for transmitting information necessary for the correct control of body movements.

A group of scientists led by Dr. Francisco Pan-Montojo confirmed that one of the effects of pesticides on the brain is to increase the likelihood of Parkinson's disease. Different epidemiological studies confirm that there are certain toxic substances capable of producing the symptoms of this disorder.

As we can see, the use of pesticides is very controversial and will become more and more as we learn more about their effects on the brain. Without them, modern agriculture would not exist as we know it. But to what extent are they profitable if they cause so many diseases? The debate is in full swing and it is very likely that we will discover new and related problems in the coming decades.

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