Victims of Dementia and other neurological brain conditions are getting younger, researchers at Bournemouth University, England have found.
The study, published in the Surgical Neurology International journal states that levels are “almost epidemic,” and environmental factors are thought to be the cause of this.
“The rate of increase in such a short time suggests a silent or even a ‘hidden’ epidemic, in which environmental factors must play a major part, not just ageing,” lead researcher Colin Pritchard said. “Modern living produces multi-interactional environmental pollution but the changes in human morbidity, including neurological disease is remarkable and points to environmental influences.”
The study looked a figures for neurological brain diseases in 21 Western countries from 1989 to 2010. The results showed that as of 2010, the average rate for Dementia to set it was 10 years earlier than in 1989, and that deaths from neurological diseases had a significant increase in those aged between 55 and 74, and had doubled for those over 75.
The changes were seen across the board, but were far worse in the United States. Deaths from neurological conditions in men over 74 tripled between 1989 and 2010, and increased by five times in women. Brain disease has now taken over cancer as the number one cause of death in elderly US women.
The researchers explained, “Crucially it is not just because people are living longer to get diseases they previously would not have lived long enough to develop but older people are developing neurological disease more than ever before,” Pritchard said.
The findings have instead been attributed to environmental factors.
“The environmental changes in the last 20 years have seen increases in the human environment of petro-chemicals – air transport- quadrupling of motor vehicles, insecticides and rises in background electro-magnetic-field, and so on.”
“These results will not be welcome news as there are many with short-term vested interests that will want to ignore them,” he said.
There is also fears that exposure to mercury from vaccines could be contributing to neurological diseases. A study in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease in 2010,showed that long term exposure to mercury produced the same effects as Alzheimer’s disease, including confusion and reduced cognitive function.
“Mercury is clearly contributing to neurological problems, whose rate is increasing in parallel with rising levels of mercury,” researcher Richard Deth said. “It seems that the two are tied together.”