Exposure to Animal Agriculture Increases Prevalence of Nerve Damage
November 13, 2012
Beef and dairy farmers are more likely to suffer from numbness and weakness, characteristics of peripheral neuropathy, compared with farmers who do not work with animals, according to new analysis of 16,340 participants of the Agricultural Health Study. The authors hypothesized that exposure to the common intestinal bacteria Campylobacter jejuni leads to greater risk of symptoms associated with Guillain-Barré Syndrome. Guillain-Barré Syndrome is an autoimmune disorder that can lead to muscle and nerve damage; it has no clear origin, although it usually appears after a minor infection. Dairy farmers also had a significantly higher prevalence of blurred vision, compared with farmers who had no exposure to animals.
Vegosen L, Davis MF, Silbergeld E, et al. Neurologic symptoms associated with cattle farming in the Agricultural Health Study. J Occup Environ Med. 2012;54:1253-1258.
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