Pollution May Increase the Risk for Alzheimer’s Disease and Suicide Among Young People 

By Ursula Biba

Although the detrimental effects of airborne pollution on health are rarely disputed, researchers from the University of Montana have found another cause for concern: the link between pollution and Alzheimer’s disease and suicide among young people. After studying over 200 autopsies in Mexico City, where over 24 million people are exposed to high levels of fine particulate matter daily, Dr. Calderón- Garcidueñas and her team have identified high levels of the tau and beta amyloid proteins linked to the onset of Alzheimer’s in children as young as one-year-old. The sample also showcased high levels of Apolipoprotein E (APOE-4), a known genetic risk factor for Alzheimer’s disease. While APOE-4 carriers are at higher risk for rapid disease progression and suicide, 99.5% of subjects in the study showcased telltale signs of Alzheimer’s disease. Findings reveal that in polluted cities, Alzheimer’s onset may begin in early childhood due to APOE-4 status and particulate exposure—creating a need for upstream approaches to treat the disease. Dr. Calderon-Garcidueñas stresses that Alzheimer’s disease prevention begins in the pre-natal period and involves identification of the environmental, nutritional, metabolic and genetic risk factors in areas where air quality is low.


The University of Montana. (2018, April 13). Evidence mounts for Alzheimer's, suicide risks among youth in polluted cities. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 17, 2018 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/04/180413155259.htm