Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Healthy welders may be at increased risk for early brain damage

Date:
April 6, 2011
Source:
American Academy of Neurology
Summary:
New research suggests that workers exposed to welding fumes may be at risk for developing brain damage in an area of the brain also affected in Parkinson's disease.

Welding fumes may increase risk of damage to the same brain area harmed by Parkinson's disease, researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis have found.
Credit: Michael C. Purdy

New research suggests that workers exposed to welding fumes may be at risk for developing brain damage in an area of the brain also affected in Parkinson's disease. The study is published in the April 6, 2011, online issue of Neurology, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology.

Related Articles


Fumes produced by welding contain manganese. Manganese is a chemical element that, even at low levels, has been linked to neurologic problems, including Parkinson's disease-like symptoms.

"There are over one million workers who perform welding as part of their job functions in the United States," said Brad A. Racette, MD, with Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis and a Fellow with the American Academy of Neurology. "If a link between neurotoxic effects and these fumes were proven, it would have a substantial public health impact for the U.S. workforce and economy."

The study involved 20 welders with no symptoms of Parkinson's disease, 20 people with Parkinson's disease who were not welders and 20 people who were not welders and did not have Parkinson's. The welders were recruited from two Midwest shipyards and one metal fabrication company. All participants were given brain PET and MRI scans, motor skills tests and examined by a neurologist who specializes in movement disorders. The welders had an average of 30,000 hours of lifetime welding exposure. Their average manganese levels were found to be two times the upper limits of normal.

Scientists found that welders had an average 11.7 percent reduction in a marker of dopamine in one area of the brain on PET scans as compared to people who did not weld. Dopamine is a chemical messenger that helps nerve cells communicate and is decreased in specific brain regions in people with Parkinson's disease. The welders' motor skills test scores also showed mild movement difficulties that were about half of that found in the early Parkinson's disease patients.

"While these changes in the brain and dopamine dysfunction may be an early marker of neuron death related to welding exposure, the damage appeared to be different from those of people with full-fledged Parkinson's disease," said Racette. "MRI scans also revealed brain changes in welders that were consistent with manganese deposits in the brain."

"Although this study shows that these workers had dopamine dysfunction in the brain, the study authors could not determine whether this was specifically related to manganese," said W. R. Wayne Martin, MD, who wrote an accompanying editorial on the topic. Martin is with the University of Alberta in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada and a member of the American Academy of Neurology. "Will these individuals develop full-fledged Parkinson's disease? We can't answer that question based on the study but more research should be done to explore this possibility."

The study was supported by the Michael J. Fox Foundation, the National Institutes of Health, the American Parkinson Disease Association, Advanced Research Center at Washington University, the Great St. Louis Chapter of the ADPA, the McDonnell Center for Higher Brain Function and the Barnes-Jewish Hospital Foundation.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by American Academy of Neurology. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Criswell SR, Perlmutter JS, Videen TO, Moerlein SM, Flores HP, Birke AM, Racette BA. Reduced uptake of [18F]FDOPA PET in asymptomatic welders with occupational manganese exposure. Neurology, April 6, 2011

Cite This Page:

American Academy of Neurology. "Healthy welders may be at increased risk for early brain damage." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 6 April 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/04/110406161028.htm>.
American Academy of Neurology. (2011, April 6). Healthy welders may be at increased risk for early brain damage. ScienceDaily. Retrieved December 21, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/04/110406161028.htm
American Academy of Neurology. "Healthy welders may be at increased risk for early brain damage." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/04/110406161028.htm (accessed December 21, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Health & Medicine News

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

The Best Tips to Curb Holiday Carbs

The Best Tips to Curb Holiday Carbs

Buzz60 (Dec. 19, 2014) It's hard to resist those delicious but fattening carbs we all crave during the winter months, but there are some ways to stay satisfied without consuming the extra calories. Vanessa Freeman (@VanessaFreeTV) has the details. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
Sierra Leone Bikers Spread the Message to Fight Ebola

Sierra Leone Bikers Spread the Message to Fight Ebola

AFP (Dec. 19, 2014) More than 100 motorcyclists hit the road to spread awareness messages about Ebola. Nearly 7,000 people have now died from the virus, almost all of them in west Africa, according to the World Health Organization. Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Researchers Test Colombian Village With High Alzheimer's Rates

Researchers Test Colombian Village With High Alzheimer's Rates

AFP (Dec. 19, 2014) In Yarumal, a village in N. Colombia, Alzheimer's has ravaged a disproportionately large number of families. A genetic "curse" that may pave the way for research on how to treat the disease that claims a new victim every four seconds. Duration: 02:42 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
The Best Protein-Filled Foods to Energize You for the New Year

The Best Protein-Filled Foods to Energize You for the New Year

Buzz60 (Dec. 19, 2014) The new year is coming and nothing will energize you more for 2015 than protein-filled foods. Fitness and nutrition expert John Basedow (@JohnBasedow) gives his favorite high protein foods that will help you build muscle, lose fat and have endless energy. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins