Scientists have found a deeper link between iron overload in babies and the development of Parkinson’s disease later in life. Researchers from the Andersen lab say that excess iron in the system damages brain neurons. Their study shows that by impairing the neurons, lysosomes and other cellular structures also break down, ultimately triggering the development of the brain disease.
Researchers have previously discovered for some time that too much iron buildup in the brain is closely linked with Parkinson’s disease and other neurodegenerative disorders. Overload in iron can be easily checked through a person’s teeth which provide clues about iron exposure and diseases linked to the excess.
Each day, around 25 people are diagnosed with Parkinson's. It often occurs due to the wearing down of neurons, typically affecting the older individuals. However, according to the Florey Institute, one in seven of the diagnosed people are under 50, the Medical Daily reports.
The disease starts when the brain cells that manufacture the chemical dopamine die off, triggering problems with muscle movement. It is a tedious disease, with patients requiring assistance in daily tasks. An early test, such as iron overload, may indicate the potential progression of the disease.
Iron has been known as an component in the diet that helps keep brain function at any age healthy. It is specially critical for babies and toddlers for the healthy development of their brains. However, the study suggests that too much iron in the brain can raise the risk of both dementia and Parkinson's disease, The Sydney Morning Herald reports.
Dr Dominic Hare, from the University of Melbourne explains that since Parkinson's begin at a later stage in life, early diagnosis is important to monitor its development. He explains that though iron is important in fortifying milk formula, food makers must be more conscious on how much iron is added in food. Since much of natural food is already rich in iron, parents should be careful not to cause iron overload in their children to help reduce risk of Parkinson's disease.