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article imagePesticide DDT linked to Alzheimer’s

By Tim Sandle     Feb 15, 2014 in Health
DDT may increase the risk of the neurodegenerative disease Alzheimer's, according to some troubling new research conducted by Rutgers University.
A study has shown that DDE, a metabolite of the pesticide DDT, is found at elevated levels in the serum of late-onset Alzheimer’s patients. By examining 86 Alzheimer’s cases and 79 controls, the research finding showed four-fold higher DDE levels in the patients suffering from Alzheimer's.
DDT (dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane) is a colorless, crystalline, tasteless and almost odorless chemical known for its insecticidal properties. In 1962, the book Silent Spring by American biologist Rachel Carson was published. It catalogued the environmental impacts of indiscriminate DDT spraying in the United States and questioned the logic of releasing large amounts of chemicals into the environment without a sufficient understanding of their effects on ecology or human health. Despite this, DDT continues to be used around the world.
Alzheimer’s disease is a form of dementia that worsens over time, leading to a slow decline in cognitive functions and affecting memory, thinking, and behavior. More than 5 million Americans are living with the condition, according to the Alzheimer’s Association.
Summarizing the research, lead scientist Jason Richardson told the L.A. Times: "We can’t say that DDT exposure is responsible for Alzheimer’s with a study like this, but what we can say right now is that if you have higher levels of DDE you are more likely to be diagnosed with Alzheimer’s."
The findings have been published in the journal JAMA Neurology. The paper is titled "Elevated Serum Pesticide Levels and Risk for Alzheimer Disease".
More about Pesticide, Alzheimer's disease, Chemicals, Brain, Ddt
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