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Alzheimer’s Disease Begins in Infancy in Polluted Cities

Smog NY Seen from World Trade Center

Smog New York 1988 seen from the World Trade Center (CDC US Govt.)

Alzheimer’s Begins in Infancy from Air Pollution

A new study by researchers from the University of Montana headed by Lilian Calderón-Garcidueñas published July 2018 in the Journal of Environmental Research shows that increased air pollution (smog) of fine particulate matter, ozone  and combustion-derived nanoparticles (CDNPs) in cities raise an increased risk for Alzheimer’s disease. These are inhaled into the nose, mouth and lungs and find their way to the brain. Further, this excessive pollution above the recommended levels, leads to Alzheimer’s beginning in infancy.

Air Pollution in Mexico City Linked to High Risk for Alzheimer’s Disease

Alzheimer’s Markers Found in Brainstems of Infants

Increased Risk for Teenage Suicide

In highly air-polluted Mexico City that has 24 million residents, two proteins that lead to the development of Alzheimer’s disease were found in the brains of 203 autopsies of people from age 11 months to 40 years. There was an alarming rate 99.5% of beginning Alzheimer’s disease found in the brainstems of infants and young children.

Research had speculated that Alzheimer’s usually begins around the age of 55 with symptoms only showing up around age 65, but this study shows that in highly air polluted cities, evidence of beginning Alzheimer’s is already found in  the brainstems of babies and young children and there is also an increased risk for suicide in teenagers.

A previous study also headed by Lilian Calderón-Garcidueñas showed that teenagers in Mexico City were also at risk for Parkinson’s disease because of CDNPs.

Combatting Air Pollution

The researchers cite this as a major health crisis and stress that the need to combat air pollution must take top priority to save the lives of millions of people all over the world. The authors also conclude that neuroprotective (brain protective) measures have to be started as early as possible in the prenatal period before a baby is born and continued throughout childhood.

Alzheimer’s on Rise

Alzheimer’s is on a dramatic increase all over the world. It is the most commonly found dementia and is now estimated to be the third cause of death in the US. It is a progressive disease that leads to memory loss, personality changes, psychiatric problems and a decline in cognitive function. At present there is no cure and the disease finally leads to death. It takes an enormous emotional and financial toil on families with many volunteer caretakers dying faster than their demented loved ones they are caring for. Also, life-savings are being used up long before the decease of the demented family member and families are faced with falling into poverty.

Most Alzheimer’s seniors die about eight years after symptoms appear, but in early onset dementia people can live for about 20 years, but in a state where they need 24-7 care. Those who can afford it may be placed in long-term care facilities, but to date, Medicare does not pay for long-term care for dementia diseases except for 100 days, but only after a discharge from three days or more in a hospital.


One cannot even begin to fathom what life will be like in another 20-30 years in these air polluted cities where the majority of inhabitants will be in some stage of dementia, especially early onset dementia. This study should be a wakeup call, especially for air-polluted cities in other parts of the world like the United States.

If this research is taken seriously and immediate steps are taken to stop air pollution in the United States and in cities all over the world,  then this road to a major world-wide mega plague of Alzheimer’s disease can be stopped in its tracks.

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