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Significant international funding for a nationwide study on the role of ambient air pollution in Parkinson’s disease

Researchers at the University of Eastern Finland School of Pharmacy and the Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare have received a grant of 400,000 US dollars from The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research for investigating how exposure patterns to ambient air pollution are related to the risk of Parkinson’s disease. 

Ambient air pollution is known to increase the risk of death and cardiovascular diseases, and there is suggestive evidence linking ambient air pollution to higher risk of Parkinson’s disease. Current studies on this topic are limited by uncertainty of Parkinson’s disease diagnosis, accuracy of exposure modelling and lack of long-term exposure data. In addition, the role of individual pollution components is uncertain.

The project will provide information on the role of short- and long-term exposure to individual components, as well as different exposure trajectories and harmful exposure pattern combinations by linking the already established Finnish Parkinson’s Disease Study (FINPARK), a unique nationwide nested case-control study with over two decades’ time series of high-resolution air pollution data. The study comprises 22,198 persons diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease, and 148,009 controls. The research is conducted in collaboration between Professor Anna-Maija Tolppanen’s group at the School of Pharmacy and Dr Otto Hänninen’s group at the Finnish Institute for of Health and Welfare.

The Michael J. Fox Foundation is dedicated to finding a cure for Parkinson’s disease through an aggressively funded research agenda. Since 2000, the foundation has invested over 1 billion dollars in high-risk, high-reward research projects.

For further information, please contact:

Anna-Maija Tolppanen, Academy Research Fellow, Professor, effectiveness of healthcare, School of Pharmacy, University of Eastern Finland, tel. +358 50 575 9530, anna-maija.tolppanen (at),

Dr Otto Hänninen, Senior researcher, Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare, tel. p. 029 524 6471, otto.hanninen (at)