The National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences has awarded a five-year, nearly $1.7 million grant to a Purdue University health sciences professor. Jason Cannon will use the funds to determine if dietary factors have a role in Parkinson’s Disease.
Cannon is an associate professor of toxicology in Purdue’s School of Health Sciences. The study seeks to determine if heterocyclic aromatic animes, a possible carcinogen that is formed when grilling meat at high temperatures, is also a neurotoxin linked to the disease.
"Other researchers have found that the class of compounds heterocyclic aromatic animes are probable carcinogens, and one of these cancer scientists shared with me that while the animals in their study were exposed to the carcinogen, they also experienced neurological problems," said Cannon. "My lab’s work has found that when we isolate neurons in cultures and expose cells to reasonable doses of these compounds, yes, we see the same types of neurons lost in Parkinson’s disease."
Purdue says Cannon will study the compound’s effect more in-depth. Cannon says he is interested in looking at factors that cause Parkinson’s which people could potentially encounter every day.
The study is being done in collaboration with other researchers from Purdue, as well as researchers from the University of Minnesota, the Defense Threat Reduction Agency in Virginia and the Biosciences and Biotechnology Division at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California.