Newsweek had an article about a new study finding evidence to suggest that Alzheimer’s begins in childhood, with babies younger than a year old displaying signs of the disease. The research emphasized that earlier intervention is necessary to prevent the disease and addressing air pollution may play a key role.
Researchers examined the autopsies of 203 residents of Mexico City and published their findings online in Environmental Research. The bodies ranged in age from 11 months to 40 years old.
The researchers specifically looked at levels of two abnormal proteins associated with Alzheimer’s—hyperphosphorylated tau and beta amyloid. Many of the bodies displayed heightened levels of these two proteins in the brain, even in children less than a year old. Evidence of early signs of Alzheimer’s disease was found in 99.5 percent of the subjects examined.
The study theorized that exposure to air pollution may be behind these heightened abnormal protein levels in young brains. Children exposed to cleaner air performed better in various categories, including cognitive performance, lead study researcher Dr. Lilian Calderón-Garcidueñas, a professor in the department of biomedical and pharmaceutical sciences at the University of Montana, told Newsweek. Calderón-Garcidueñas, who also collaborates with Universidad del Valle de Mexico, compared children by age, gender, socioeconomic status, the IQ of their mother, nutrition and education.