logo_bg We Can Cure Alzheimer's Now
 
 

Hygiene Hypothesis: Does wealthy nations' better hygiene increase Alzheimer's risk?

Science Codex 9/4/2013 New research has found a "very significant" relationship between a nation's wealth and hygiene and the Alzheimer's "burden" on its population. High-income, highly industrialised countries with large urban areas and better hygiene exhibit much higher rates of Alzheimer's.
Using 'age-standardised'* data - which predict Alzheimer's rates if all countries had the same population birth rate, life expectancy and age structure -- the study found strong correlations between national sanitation levels and Alzheimer's.

This latest study adds further weight to the "hygiene hypothesis" in relation to Alzheimer's: that sanitised environments in developed nations result in far less exposure to a diverse range of bacteria, viruses and other microorganisms -- which might actually cause the immune system to develop poorly, exposing the brain to the inflammation associated with Alzheimer's disease, say the researchers.

"The 'hygiene hypothesis', which suggests a relationship between cleaner environments and a higher risk of certain allergies and autoimmune diseases, is well-- established. We believe we can now add Alzheimer's to this list of diseases," said Dr Molly Fox, lead author of the study and Gates Cambridge Alumna, who conducted the research at Cambridge's Biological Anthropology division.

Read the full story