Pesticide exposure increases risk of Alzheimer’s disease

Photo Credit:  Krueger Photo Credit: Krueger

A recent study published in JAMA Neurology shows that exposure to DDT may be associated with an increased risk of Alzheimer’s disease. Researchers at Rutgers University investigated the differences in levels of the break-down product of DDT, called DDE, in patients with Alzheimer’s versus those without the disease. They found that DDE levels in the blood of individuals with Alzheimer’s were almost four times greater than people in the control group who did not have Alzheimer’s disease. While the use of DDT has been banned in the United States since 1972, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that DDT is still found in 75-80 percent of people’s blood due to the high persistence of the chemical and its use in conventional production of food overseas. This is especially concerning for people with genetic predispositions toward developing Alzheimer’s. The study found that patients with a version of the ApoE gene (ApoE4) had greatly increased odds of developing Alzheimer’s when exposed to DDT.