Parkinsonism (P) with progressive dementia (D) of the Alzheimer type is recognized as a clinical variant of a form of amyotrophic lageral sclerosis (ALS) that has occurred in high incidence among the Chamorro people of the islands of Guam and Rota in the Marianas chain of Micronesia. The declining annual incidence, upward shifting of the age of onset, narrowing of the sex ratio, and occurrence of the disease among non-Chamorros, point to a disappearing environmental causation peculiar to the traditional culture of these islands. Evidence is presented in support of the proposal that heavy use of certain toxic plants, notably cycads, a traditional source of food and medicine for the Chamorro people, plays an important etiological role. Clinical and epidemiological approaches are offered to test for a relationship between ALS/P-D and long-latency plant toxicity.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Clinical Neurology