18 September 2012
Is countryside living causing Alzheimer’s?
New research suggests that growing up in the countryside can double the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease in later life.
Scientists do not know why this is the case but have discovered that those who were raised in the countryside, rather than those who moved there later in life, are at a great risk.
Dr Tom Russ, from the Alzheimer Scotland Dementia Research Centre at the University of Edinburgh, who led the study, said, ‘We don’t really know the mechanism. It could be to do with access to healthcare, exposure to some unknown substance, socio-economic factors, or a number of other factors. We’re currently looking into this question in more detail.’
Previous studies have not shown a clear link between life in urban and rural areas due to a clear definition of what constitutes country living. Scientists involved in this recent study looked at data from several experiments conducted over several decades.
The results showed this clear increase in risk but only for Alzheimer’s. There was far smaller increase in the risk for other forms of dementia.
Researchers now need to look deeper in order to find a reason for these results. Hopefully they will find an answer, and with it and possible way to prevent the disease developing.