Neurologic diseases associated with use of plant components with toxic potential

Peter S. Spencer, Albert C. Ludolph, Glen E. Kisby

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

45 Scopus citations


Epidemics of neurotoxic disease in developing regions of the world are often associated with dietary dependence on plant components with inherent toxic potential or which have spoiled and become contaminated with mycotoxins. Diseases triggered by plant toxins include lathyrism and cassavism, types of irreversible spastic parapareses associated with staple diets of grass pea and bitter cassava root, respectively. Mildewed sugarcane poisoning, an encephalopathy and tardive dystonia, illustrates the neurotoxic effects of a widely distributed plant and fungal toxin. Food and medicinal use of the neurotoxic cycad plant is thought to have a role in the etiology of western Pacific amyotrophic lateral sclerosis and parkinsonism-dementia. Plant-associated neurotoxicity is a significant and preventable cause of morbidity in certain regions of Africa, Asia, and Oceania.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)106-113
Number of pages8
JournalEnvironmental Research
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jul 1993

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Environmental Science(all)


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