Canadian scientists continue to do their part in the global effort to find a cure for Alzheimer’s disease. This disease afflicts millions of people across the world each year and devastates the lives of families who must watch helplessly as their loved one declines. Canadian scientists recently speculated about whether or not the environmental effects of busy traffic ways could impact the frequency of Alzheimer’s in people who live close to them. The results of their study have given pause to other scientists who likewise search for causes of this disease.
The Correlation between Busy Roadways and Dementia Risk
A recent Canadian scientific study examined how many people who live by busy roadways went on to suffer from Alzheimer’s disease. The study followed the health of 6.5 million people in the Ontario province. The people studied for this effort ranged in ages from 20 to 85. After reviewing the people’s records, scientists found that around seven percent of the people who lived close to busy roadways went on to suffer from Alzheimer’s or other diseases like multiple sclerosis and Parkinson’s disease. The study could not conclusively say, however, that those people’s diseases were caused directly because of traffic close to their homes.
Making that direct correlation could be next to impossible, at least according to other scientists who read the study of the Canadian scientists. They argue that the frequency of the disease could just be coincidental. Also, the initial study did not consider other factors that may have caused the Alzheimer’s cases such as genetics and natural aging.
Still, the scientists who conducted the study argue that the environmental factors of the roads could indeed negatively impact nearby residents’ health, even to the point of causing Alzheimer’s disease. They speculate that pollutants and road debris could make their way into the people’s airways and circulatory system, making the lungs, brain, and heart sick. These internal conditions could set the stage for the onset and eventual development of Alzheimer’s disease.
The Common Dementia Risk Factors
Many in the scientific community do not correlate busy roadways with the onset of Alzheimer’s disease. They instead attribute this illness to proven and well-studied factors that often go well beyond sufferers’ control.
Primarily, scientists do know that Alzheimer’s disease is caused by genetics. If someone in a person’s family suffered from Alzheimer’s in the past, chances are good that the person himself or herself will also be at risk of the disease in the future.
Likewise, scientists have identified several genes that if present in a person’s body puts that individual at an increased risk of Alzheimer’s. Those genes include those that have coding three proteins like amyloid precursor protein, or APP, presenilin-1, or PS-1, and presenilin-2, or PS-2.
Finally, Alzheimer’s can be caused by head trauma or by heart disease. Studies have shown that people who suffer injuries to the head may be at risk of the disease later in life. Likewise, people who have heart disease and narrowed vascular structures could develop the disease because of restricted blood flow to the brain.
As such, scientists have yet to attribute a single environmental factor to the onset or development of Alzheimer’s disease. Still, Canadian scientists behind this recent study insist that there could be a direct link between busy roadways and Alzheimer’s.
Could the Dementia Risk be Lowered in the Future?
If people had a way to prevent Alzheimer’s disease, they would understandably do what it takes to avoid developing this illness. However, most of the factors are beyond anything anyone can control. Regardless of what a recent Canadian scientific study found, most scientists do not believe that Alzheimer’s disease is caused by pollution or debris from traffic that passes by sufferers’ homes.