Pesticides in non-organic milk could cause brain damage that lead to health problems such as Parkinson’s disease. So says a new study of men in Hawaii that found that those who drank two glasses of non-organic milk a day were more likely to lose neurons (brain cells).
“This study is not a wake-up call to stop drinking milk — only 12 people who drank about two glasses of milk a day showed significant loss of neurons,” James Beck the vice president of scientific affairs at the Parkinson’s Disease Foundation, told WebMD. “Nevertheless, its results also suggest that low levels of a pesticide, accumulated in milk, contributed to the loss of brain cells. So a practical question to ask is if it is time to consider strategic purchases of organic foods — it may be.”
The study found that men who drank more than two cups of non-organic milk a day had 40 percent fewer cells in certain areas of their brains. That included regions of the brain associated with Parkinson’s disease.
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The study involved 450 men who had lived in Hawaii for several decades, and all of those involved were in the state in the early 1980s when a pesticide called heptachlor epoxide was used in the pineapple industry. Cows were fed a feed made in part from the pineapple debris. The pesticide since has been banned.
Researchers from Japan’s Shiga University examined the men for 30 years and conducted autopsies on the brains when they died. The autopsies found that the density of brain cells or neurons in some of the men were thinner.
The results were published in the scientific journal Neurology. The scientists are not sure if pesticide in milk causes Parkinson’s, although evidence points that way.
“We don’t have all the data yet, but we are close to finding the smoking gun here,” lead researcher R.D. Abbott told Time. “It’s not complete, but it’s very suspicious.”
Parkinson’s disease is a degenerative disorder that affects a person’s movement.
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