Head injuries may increase risk of Parkinson’s disease

As most New Yorkers probably realize, their employers are required to create a safe work environment that will eliminate or reduce the risk of injury. Some employers don’t take this very seriously, however, and their employees can easily become injured. When workplace accidents do happen, it is common to see workers who have hurt their heads. Now, a new study indicates that head injuries increase the risk of an employee developing Parkinson’s disease.

When an employee is injured or develops a debilitating illness because of a workplace accident, he or she can apply for workers’ compensation in New York. Because not all injuries and illnesses can be immediately traced back to the job, it is important to work with an experienced workers’ compensation attorney to create a clear connection from work to the condition. The workers’ compensation system can be tricky and the smallest mishap may prevent an applicant from receiving the money he or she really needs.

This new study tracked a group of 1,111 people in the same region. Of that group, 357 were recently diagnosed with Parkinson’s and 754 did not have the medical condition. Researchers then looked at how many of them had ever had a serious head injury. According to the study, only those individuals who had been knocked unconscious for at least 5 minutes qualified. What the researchers found, however, was shocking.

Twelve percent of the group of people with Parkinson’s disease also reported major head injuries, nearly double that of the people without Parkinson’s disease. It is not entirely clear how many of these injuries occurred on the job, but the number could be quite high. In the end, the study found that a traumatic brain injury resulted in an increased risk of Parkinson’s disease.

The National Parkinson’s Foundation reports that between 50,000 and 60,000 people are diagnosed with Parkinson’s every year.

Source: Reuters, “Head injury, pesticides tied to Parkinson’s disease,” Genevra Pittman, Nov. 13, 2012

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