Cheryl Meng

San Francisco VA Medical Center, San Francisco, California, United States

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Publications (11)78.49 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: Pesticides have been associated with Parkinson's disease (PD), and protective gloves and workplace hygiene can reduce pesticide exposure. We assessed whether use of gloves and workplace hygiene modified associations between pesticides and PD. The Farming and Movement Evaluation (FAME) study is a nested case–control study within the Agricultural Health Study. Use of protective gloves, other PPE, and hygiene practices were determined by questionnaire (69 cases and 237 controls were included). We considered interactions of gloves and hygiene with ever-use of pesticides for all pesticides with ≥ 5 exposed and unexposed cases and controls in each glove-use stratum (paraquat, permethrin, rotenone, and trifluralin). 61% of respondents consistently used protective gloves and 87% consistently used ≥ 2 hygiene practices. Protective glove use modified the associations of paraquat and permethrin with PD: neither pesticide was associated with PD among protective glove users, while both pesticides were associated with PD among non-users (paraquat OR 3.9 [95% CI 1.3, 11.7], interaction p = 0.15; permethrin OR 4.3 [95% CI 1.2, 15.6] interaction p = 0.05). Rotenone was associated with PD regardless of glove use. Trifluralin was associated with PD among participants who used < 2 hygiene practices (OR 5.5 [95% CI 1.1, 27.1]) but was not associated with PD among participants who used 2 or more practices (interaction p = 0.02). Although sample size was limited in the FAME study, protective glove use and hygiene practices appeared to be important modifiers of the association between pesticides and PD and may reduce risk of PD associated with certain pesticides.
    Full-text · Article · Nov 2014 · Environment International
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    ABSTRACT: Increased gut permeability, inflammation, and colonic α-synuclein pathology are present in early Parkinson's disease (PD) and have been proposed to contribute to PD pathogenesis. Peptidoglycan is a structural component of the bacterial cell wall. Peptidoglycan recognition proteins (PGRPs) maintain healthy gut microbial flora by regulating the immune response to both commensal and harmful bacteria. We tested the hypothesis that variants in genes that encode PGRPs are associated with PD risk. Participants in two independent case-control studies were genotyped for 30 single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in the four PGLYRP genes. Using logistic regression to estimate odds ratios (OR) and 95% confidence intervals (CI) adjusted for potential confounding variables, we conducted analyses in each study, separately and pooled. One SNP failed the assay, and three had little to no variation. The ORs were similar in both study populations. In pooled analyses, three of seven PGLYRP2 SNPs (rs3813135, rs733731, rs892145), one of five PGLYRP3 SNPs (rs2987763), and six of nine PGLYRP4 SNPs (rs10888557, rs12063091, rs3006440, rs3006448, rs3006458, and rs3014864) were significantly associated with PD risk. Association was strongest for PGLYRP4 5'untranslated region (UTR) SNP rs10888557 (GG reference, CG OR 0.6 [95%CI 0.4-0.9], CC OR 0.15 [95%CI 0.04-0.6]; log-additive P-trend, 0.0004). Common variants in PGLYRP genes are associated with PD risk in two independent studies. These results require replication, but they are consistent with hypotheses of a causative role for the gut microbiota and gastrointestinal immune response in PD. © 2014 International Parkinson and Movement Disorder Society
    No preview · Article · Aug 2014 · Movement Disorders
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    ABSTRACT: The objective of this study was to examine a remote method for maintaining long-term contact with Parkinson's disease (PD) patients participating in clinical studies. Long-term follow-up of PD patients is needed to fill critical information gaps on progression, biomarkers, and treatment. Prospective in-person assessment can be costly and may be impossible for some patients. Remote assessment using mail and telephone contact may be a practical follow-up method. Patients enrolled in the multi-center Longitudinal and Biomarker Study in Parkinson's Disease (LABS-PD) in-person follow-up study in 2006 were invited to enroll in Follow-up of Persons With Neurologic Diseases (FOUND), which is overseen by a single center under a separate, central institutional review board protocol. FOUND uses mailed questionnaires and telephone interviews to assess PD status. FOUND follow-up continued when LABS-PD in-person visits ended in 2011. Retention and agreement between remote and in-person assessments were determined. In total, 422 of 499 (84.5%) of eligible patients volunteered, AND 96% of participants were retained. Of 60 patients who withdrew consent from LABS-PD, 51 were retained in FOUND. Of 341 patients who were active in LABS-PD, 340 were retained in FOUND (99.7%) when the in-person visits ceased. Exact agreement between remote and in-person assessments was ≥ 80% for diagnosis, disease features (eg, dyskinesias), and PD medication. Correlation between expert-rated and self-reported Unified Parkinson's Disease Rating Scale and Movement Disorder Society Unified Parkinson's Disease Rating Scale, which were examined at times separated by several months, was moderate or substantial for most items. Retention was excellent using remote follow-up of research participants with PD, providing a safety net when combined with in-person visits, and also is effective as a stand-alone assessment method, providing a useful alternative when in-person evaluation is not feasible.
    No preview · Article · May 2014 · Movement Disorders
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    ABSTRACT: Dietary fat intake may modify Parkinson's disease (PD) risk directly or by altering the response to environmental neurotoxicants including pesticides. We conducted a case-control study of PD nested in the Agricultural Health Study (AHS), a cohort of pesticide applicators and spouses. We evaluated diet and pesticide use before diagnosis in 89 PD cases, confirmed by movement disorder specialists, or a corresponding date in 336 frequency-matched controls. Associations were evaluated using multivariate logistic regression to estimate odds ratios (ORs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs). In the AHS, PD was inversely associated with N-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) (OR 0.4, 95% CI 0.2-0.8 for highest vs. lowest tertile) and the N-3 precursor α-linolenic acid (0.4, 0.2-0.8). In a meta-analysis of nine studies, including the present one, PD was inversely associated with α-linolenic acid (0.81, 0.68-0.96). In the AHS, associations of PD with the pesticides paraquat and rotenone were modified by fat intake. The OR for paraquat was 4.2 (1.5-12) in individuals with PUFA intake below the median but 1.2 (0.4-3.4) in those with higher intake (p-interaction = 0.10). The OR for rotenone was 5.8 (2.3-15) in those with saturated fat intake above the median but 1.5 (0.5-4.2) in those with lower intake (p-interaction = 0.02). PUFA intake was consistently associated with lower PD risk, and dietary fats modified the association of PD risk with pesticide exposure. If confirmed, these findings suggest that a diet high in PUFAs and low in saturated fats might reduce risk of PD.
    Full-text · Article · Oct 2013 · Parkinsonism & Related Disorders
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    ABSTRACT: Paraquat is one of the most widely used herbicides worldwide. It produces a Parkinson's disease (PD) model in rodents through redox cycling and oxidative stress (OS) and is associated with PD risk in humans. Glutathione transferases provide cellular protection against OS and could potentially modulate paraquat toxicity. We investigated PD risk associated with paraquat use in individuals with homozygous deletions of the genes encoding glutathione S-transferase M1 (GSTM1) or T1 (GSTT1). Eighty-seven PD subjects and 343 matched controls were recruited from the Agricultural Health Study, a study of licensed pesticide applicators and spouses in Iowa and North Carolina. PD was confirmed by in-person examination. Paraquat use and covariates were determined by interview. We genotyped subjects for homozygous deletions of GSTM1 (GSTM1*0) and GSTT1 (GSTT1*0) and tested interaction between paraquat use and genotype using logistic regression. Two hundred and twenty-three (52%) subjects had GSTM1*0, 95 (22%) had GSTT1*0, and 73 (17%; all men) used paraquat. After adjustment for potential confounders, there was no interaction with GSTM1. In contrast, GSTT1 genotype significantly modified the association between paraquat and PD. In men with functional GSTT1, the odds ratio (OR) for association of PD with paraquat use was 1.5 (95% confidence interval [CI]: 0.6-3.6); in men with GSTT1*0, the OR was 11.1 (95% CI: 3.0-44.6; P interaction: 0.027). Although replication is needed, our results suggest that PD risk from paraquat exposure might be particularly high in individuals lacking GSTT1. GSTT1*0 is common and could potentially identify a large subpopulation at high risk of PD from oxidative stressors such as paraquat. © 2012 Movement Disorder Society.
    Full-text · Article · Nov 2012 · Movement Disorders
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    ABSTRACT: Several case reports have linked solvent exposure to Parkinson disease (PD), but few studies have assessed associations with specific agents using an analytic epidemiologic design. We tested the hypothesis that exposure to specific solvents is associated with PD risk using a discordant twin pair design. Ninety-nine twin pairs discordant for PD ascertained from the National Academy of Sciences/National Research Council World War II Veteran Twins Cohort were interviewed regarding lifetime occupations and hobbies using detailed job task-specific questionnaires. Exposures to 6 specific solvents selected a priori were estimated by expert raters unaware of case status. Ever exposure to trichloroethylene (TCE) was associated with significantly increased risk of PD (odds ratio [OR], 6.1; 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.2-33; p = 0.034), and exposure to perchloroethylene (PERC) and carbon tetrachloride (CCl(4) ) tended toward significance (respectively: OR, 10.5; 95% CI, 0.97-113; p = 0.053; OR, 2.3; 95% CI, 0.9-6.1; p = 0.088). Results were similar for estimates of exposure duration and cumulative lifetime exposure. Exposure to specific solvents may increase risk of PD. TCE is the most common organic contaminant in groundwater, and PERC and CCl(4) are also ubiquitous in the environment. Our findings require replication in other populations with well-characterized exposures, but the potential public health implications are substantial.
    Full-text · Article · Jun 2012 · Annals of Neurology

  • No preview · Article · Apr 2012 · Neurology

  • No preview · Article · Apr 2012 · Neurology
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    ABSTRACT: To test the hypothesis that variability in SNCA Rep1, a polymorphic dinucleotide microsatellite in the promoter region of the gene encoding α-synuclein, modifies the association between head injury and Parkinson's disease (PD) risk. Participants in the Farming and Movement Evaluation (FAME) and the Study of Environmental Association and Risk of Parkinsonism using Case-Control Historical Interviews (SEARCH), 2 independent case-control studies, were genotyped for Rep1 and interviewed regarding head injuries with loss of consciousness or concussion prior to Parkinson's disease (PD) diagnosis. Logistic regression modeling adjusted for potential confounding variables and tested interaction between Rep1 genotype and head injury. Consistent with prior reports, relative to medium-length Rep1, short Rep1 genotype was associated with reduced PD risk (pooled odds ratio [OR], 0.7; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.5-0.9), and long Rep1 with increased risk (pooled OR, 1.4; 95% CI, 0.95-2.2). Overall, head injury was not significantly associated with PD (pooled OR, 1.3; 95% CI, 0.9-1.8). However, head injury was strongly associated with PD in those with long Rep1 (FAME OR, 5.4; 95% CI, 1.5-19; SEARCH OR, 2.3; 95% CI, 0.6-9.2; pooled OR, 3.5; 95% CI 1.4-9.2, p-interaction = 0.02). Individuals with both head injury and long Rep1 were diagnosed 4.9 years earlier than those with neither risk factor (p = 0.03). While head injury alone was not associated with PD risk, our data suggest head injury may initiate and/or accelerate neurodegeneration when levels of synuclein are high, as in those with Rep1 expansion. Given the high population frequency of head injury, independent verification of these results is essential.
    Full-text · Article · Jan 2012 · Annals of Neurology
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    ABSTRACT: Mitochondrial dysfunction and oxidative stress are pathophysiologic mechanisms implicated in experimental models and genetic forms of Parkinson's disease (PD). Certain pesticides may affect these mechanisms, but no pesticide has been definitively associated with PD in humans. Our goal was to determine whether pesticides that cause mitochondrial dysfunction or oxidative stress are associated with PD or clinical features of parkinsonism in humans. We assessed lifetime use of pesticides selected by mechanism in a case-control study nested in the Agricultural Health Study (AHS). PD was diagnosed by movement disorders specialists. Controls were a stratified random sample of all AHS participants frequency-matched to cases by age, sex, and state at approximately three controls:one case. In 110 PD cases and 358 controls, PD was associated with use of a group of pesticides that inhibit mitochondrial complex I [odds ratio (OR)=1.7; 95% confidence interval (CI), 1.0-2.8] including rotenone (OR=2.5; 95% CI, 1.3-4.7) and with use of a group of pesticides that cause oxidative stress (OR = 2.0; 95% CI, 1.2-3.6), including paraquat (OR=2.5; 95% CI, 1.4-4.7). PD was positively associated with two groups of pesticides defined by mechanisms implicated experimentally-those that impair mitochondrial function and those that increase oxidative stress-supporting a role for these mechanisms in PD pathophysiology.
    Full-text · Article · Jan 2011 · Environmental Health Perspectives
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    ABSTRACT: We examined risk of parkinsonism in occupations (agriculture, education, health care, welding, and mining) and toxicant exposures (solvents and pesticides) putatively associated with parkinsonism. To investigate occupations, specific job tasks, or exposures and risk of parkinsonism and clinical subtypes. Case-control. Eight movement disorders centers in North America. Inclusion criteria were parkinsonism (>or=2 cardinal signs), diagnosis within 8 years of recruitment (to minimize survival bias), and ability to participate in detailed telephone interviews. Control subjects were primarily nonblood relatives or acquaintances of patients. This multicenter case-control study compared lifelong occupational and job task histories to determine associations with parkinsonism and certain clinical subtypes (postural instability and gait difficulty and age at diagnosis <or=50 years). Findings in 519 cases and 511 controls were analyzed. Work in agriculture, education, health care, or welding was not associated with increased risk of parkinsonism. Unexpected increased risks associated with legal, construction and extraction, or religious occupations were not maintained after adjustment for duration. Risk of parkinsonism increased with pesticide use (odds ratio, 1.90; 95% confidence interval, 1.12-3.21), use of any of 8 pesticides mechanistically associated with experimental parkinsonism (2.20; 1.02-4.75), and use of 2,4-dichlorophenoxyacetic acid (2.59; 1.03-6.48). None of the specific occupations, job tasks, or task-related exposures were associated with younger age at diagnosis (<or=50 years). Ever working in business and finance, legal occupations, construction and extraction, or transportation and material moving was associated with postural instability and gait difficulty subtype of parkinsonism. Tobacco use was inversely associated with parkinsonism risk. The association of disease risk with pesticides support a toxicant-induced cause of parkinsonism.
    No preview · Article · Sep 2009 · Archives of neurology