A new report by the Department of
Neurology, Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, Missouri says
that exposure to welding fumes which contain the element manganese may damage
dopaminergic neurons in the brain increasing the welders' risk for Parkinson's
disease (PD). This suggests that substantial percent of welders may have brain
injury over a period of time.
Scientists studied 20 healthy welders who are exposed to manganese but showed no symptoms of PD. With positron emission tomography (PET) imaging they found a reduced uptake of the tracer F-18-fluoro-L-dopa (FDOPA). This is a sign of dysfunction in the nigrostriatal dopamine system. Scientists found that the welders had a decreased level of dopamine, a symptom shared with those affected with Parkinson's disease.
The study was published online inNeurology.