Pesticide may raise risk of Alzheimer's

2014-01-28 05:30
(Picture: <a href=\\>Shutterstock</a>)

(Picture: Shutterstock)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Washington - People with Alzheimer's disease may have higher levels of a chemical left behind by the pesticide DDT than healthy elderly people, suggested a US study out on Monday.

The pesticide, DDT, was phased out in the United States in 1972, but is still used elsewhere in the world and global health authorities consider it an important tool against malaria.

Researchers found DDE, the long-lasting metabolite of DDT, was nearly four times higher in Alzheimer's patients than in peers without the disease.

Having high DDE levels was also found to increase someone's risk of Alzheimer's fourfold, according to the study which compared 86 Alzheimer's patients to 79 people of advanced age.

The patients in the study came from the US states of Texas and Georgia, and their average age was 74, according to the study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) Neurology.

Outside experts cautioned that its sample size was small and should be followed with more research.

"The findings should be a stimulus to further research using more rigorous epidemiological methods, but of themselves, they do not provide strong evidence of a hazard," said David Coggon, professor of occupational and environmental medicine at the University of Southampton in Britain.

The differences in DDE levels were seen in the Texas sample, but not in Georgia, noted an accompanying editorial in JAMA Neurology by doctors at the University of Pennsylvania and the University of Virginia.

The editorial writers, Steven DeKosky and Sam Gandy, noted that the research should be considered "preliminary until there is independent confirmation in other populations."

Little is known about what causes Alzheimer's disease, which afflicts five million people in the United States.

The World Health Organization says some 35 million people around the world are living with dementia.

"This is one of the first studies identifying a strong environmental risk factor for Alzheimer's disease," said a statement by study co-author Allan Levey, chair of neurology at Emory University School of Medicine.

"The potentially huge public health impact of identifying an avoidable cause of Alzheimer's disease warrants more study - urgently."

Read more on:    us  |  health

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.
NEXT ON NEWS24X publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
1 comment
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24


Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.