According to recent research it is thought that those who are raised in the countryside are twice as likely to develop Alzheimer’s in later life. It is thought that those who grow up in rural areas, as opposed to those who move to the country in later life, have a greater risk of developing the degenerative disease.
Currently the cause of this occurrence is unknown however; it may have something to do with the available healthcare or even exposure to an unknown substance. Dr Tom Russ, a researcher from the Alzheimer Scotland Dementia Research Centre at the University of Edinburgh discussed this fact and stated that they are looking into the causes in more detail to assess just why this is the case.
At present estimates it is believed that Alzheimer’s affects around 820,000 thousand in Britain – a figure that is expected to double over the next 40 years as the elderly population grows. One of the main symptoms of Alzheimer’s is short term memory loss; however other symptoms include a lack of concentration, confusion and a tendency for sufferers to wander around aimlessly. At the worst end of the scale, sufferers often lose the ability to move around, speak and even swallow.
Previous studies have looked at the varying rates of Alzheimer’s between rural and urban areas, however proper conclusions have never been drawn due to varying definitions of what constitutes country life and city life. In order to get a better understanding of the situation, the researchers from the University of Edinburgh, as well as the Medical Research Council and University College London used a process known as a meta-analysis. This involved collecting the results of dozens of different studies, going back a number of decades, from across the globe to draw a more comprehensive picture for the Alzheimer’s research.
This analysis meant that a better overall indication of the risks and benefits of lifestyles and the impact it has on Alzheimer’s could be drawn from the research. The results showed that being born and raised in the countryside meant that your risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease in later life doubles.
As the researchers are unclear of the exact cause of this, they intend to put more time into investigating and identifying what the cause might be. If successful, this will help to work out causes and help to do something early in life in order to reduce the chances of developing the disease in later life. The researchers believe that if any attempts are to be made to prevent the disease, they will need to commence sufficiently early in life to have an effect.
Gareth writes on behalf of AXA PPP healthcare who offer a number of different private healthcare products including PMI, dental and health cash plans.