Emory to receive more than $6.5 million to study environmental risk factors for Parkinson's disease

August 26, 2002

Emory University will receive one of three 5-year grants totaling $20 million from the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS), a division of the National Institutes of Health, to study the relationship between exposures to environmental agents and Parkinson's disease (PD). Parkinson's disease is a progressive disorder of the central nervous system affecting over one million people in the United States.

Emory University, the University of California at Los Angeles and The Parkinson's Institute, Sunnyvale, CA, will each receive more than $6.5 million to create new centers and fund research relating to environmental agents that may trigger the onset of PD. The NIEHS will make the grant announcement on Monday, August 26, in Sunnyvale.

"It's been thought for a long time that environmental factors, including pesticides, may be important in causing Parkinson's disease. We are very excited about this new opportunity to broaden our research efforts in Parkinson's disease and its environmental causes," says J. Timothy Greenamyre, M.D., Ph.D., professor of neurology and pharmacology, Emory University School of Medicine, and co-director of the Emory Neurodegenerative Disease Center. "We already have a strong program in neurodegenerative diseases, particularly in Parkinson's disease, and we have a longstanding interest in the links between a person's genetic make-up, their exposures to environmental toxins, such as pesticides, and their likelihood of developing PD. I think these new NIEHS Collaborative Centers will really accelerate the pace of this research."

Dr. Greenamyre will direct the new center at Emory, which will be called "The Emory Collaborative Center for Parkinson's Disease Environmental Research." The center will combine resources from different departments and schools, including the Emory Neurodegenerative Disease Center, Emory's Department of Neurology and the Rollins School of Public Health. Clinical and basic research projects, all targeting gene-environment interactions in Parkinson's disease, will be led by Dr. Greenamyre, Allan Levey, M.D., Ph.D., professor of neurology, Emory University School of Medicine and director of the Emory Neurodegenerative Disease and Gary Miller, Ph.D., associate professor in the Department of Environmental and Occupational Health, Rollins School of Public Health at Emory. Because the new Emory Collaborative Center for Parkinson's Disease Environmental Research is a joint endeavor, adding Dr. Miller's expertise in the fields of toxicology and public health will expand research to include new approaches to PD prevention. "If we can figure out how insecticides contribute to PD, it will help us develop strategies to prevent or treat the disease in the future," Dr. Miller explains. "The solution is not to ban pesticides and insecticides, because these products are very important in crop production and insect control. However, it may be necessary to reevaluate the regulatory guidelines for pesticides, taking into consideration the risks for Parkinson's disease while not dismissing the positive impact these chemicals have on public health."

Dr. Miller is a new recruit in the Emory Neurodegenerative Disease Center, a center established just four months ago through a $3 million gift. The center brings together scientists from different disciplines to enhance research opportunities and strengthen clinical services for patients with neurodegenerative diseases. "This NIEHS grant is made possible through the collaborative efforts of the Emory Neurodegenerative Disease Center and through new faculty members like Dr. Miller," Dr. Levey points out. "It exemplifies the power of people working together from different aspects and approaches."
EMORY Health Sciences News
The Robert W. Woodruff Health Sciences Center
Health Sciences Communications

Media Contacts: Janet Christenbury, 404/727-8599, jmchris@emory.edu
Kathi Ovnic Baker, 404/727-9371, kobaker@emory.edu

Emory University Health Sciences Center

Related Public Health Articles from Brightsurf:

COVID-19 and the decolonization of Indigenous public health
Indigenous self-determination, leadership and knowledge have helped protect Indigenous communities in Canada during the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, and these principles should be incorporated into public health in future, argue the authors of a commentary in CMAJ (Canadian Medical Association Journal) http://www.cmaj.ca/lookup/doi/10.1503/cmaj.200852.

Public health consequences of policing homelessness
In a new study examining homelessness, researchers find that policy such a lifestyle has massive public health implications, making sleeping on the street even MORE unhealthy.

Electronic health information exchange improves public health disease reporting
Disease tracking is an important area of focus for health departments in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Pandemic likely to cause long-term health problems, Yale School of Public Health finds
The coronavirus pandemic's life-altering effects are likely to result in lasting physical and mental health consequences for many people--particularly those from vulnerable populations--a new study led by the Yale School of Public Health finds.

The Lancet Public Health: US modelling study estimates impact of school closures for COVID-19 on US health-care workforce and associated mortality
US policymakers considering physical distancing measures to slow the spread of COVID-19 face a difficult trade-off between closing schools to reduce transmission and new cases, and potential health-care worker absenteeism due to additional childcare needs that could ultimately increase mortality from COVID-19, according to new modelling research published in The Lancet Public Health journal.

The Lancet Public Health: Access to identification documents reflecting gender identity may improve trans mental health
Results from a survey of over 20,000 American trans adults suggest that having access to identification documents which reflect their identified gender helps to improve their mental health and may reduce suicidal thoughts, according to a study published in The Lancet Public Health journal.

The Lancet Public Health: Study estimates mental health impact of welfare reform, Universal Credit, in Great Britain
The 2013 Universal Credit welfare reform appears to have led to an increase in the prevalence of psychological distress among unemployed recipients, according to a nationally representative study following more than 52,000 working-age individuals from England, Wales, and Scotland over nine years between 2009-2018, published as part of an issue of The Lancet Public Health journal on income and health.

BU researchers: Pornography is not a 'public health crisis'
Researchers from the Boston University School of Public Health (BUSPH) have written an editorial in the American Journal of Public Health special February issue arguing against the claim that pornography is a public health crisis, and explaining why such a claim actually endangers the health of the public.

The Lancet Public Health: Ageism linked to poorer health in older people in England
Ageism may be linked with poorer health in older people in England, according to an observational study of over 7,500 people aged over 50 published in The Lancet Public Health journal.

Study: Public transportation use linked to better public health
Promoting robust public transportation systems may come with a bonus for public health -- lower obesity rates.

Read More: Public Health News and Public Health Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.