4. Negative Thoughts on Aging
Perhaps an extension on the previous slide, psychologists from the Yale School of Public Health claim that your beliefs about growing older can largely impact your prevalence to Alzheimer’s disease.
For instance, researchers found that individuals who thought about aging in a negative light experienced pathological brain changes that spiked the risk of cognitive impairment. Study researcher, Dr. Becca Levy, noted that “…negative beliefs about aging can be mitigated, and positive beliefs about aging can be reinforced, so that the adverse impact [Alzheimer’s] is not inevitable.”
5. Exposure to Lead
Researchers have long linked high blood levels of lead to an increased risk of heart disease. However, more recently lead exposure and presence of oxidative stress and heavy metals has been linked to decreased IQ and increased dementia risk.
For instance, a 2009 study published by the journal Neurology noted that adults with elevated lead levels in their blood (21-percent or more) were prone to high blood pressure, which can cause oxidative stress and inflammation of the brain and body.
Research links toxic insecticides (i.e., DDT and DDE) to increased Alzheimer’s risk, which led to the 1972 banning of DDT in the U.S. But despite the ban, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention note that humans can still be exposed to these toxins via chemical pesticides in the environment—namely through food sources like fish, poultry, and dairy.
For instance, data from the Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences Institute (EOHSI) specifically found that individuals with increased blood levels of insecticides were significantly at risk of an Alzheimer’s diagnosis. These findings identify a new risk that can be tested to help aid earlier diagnosis.