According to a new study completed at Duke University by Kathleen Hayden, PhD, exposure to pesticides may increase the risk of dementia by as much as 70%.
Dr. Hayden based her finding on data from the Cache County Study of Memory and Health, an ongoing study that began in 1995 and includes over 5000 subjects. The population used for this study was especially relevant because the subjects live in a rural area with lots of agriculture, including the cultivation of wheat, soybeans, apples, corn and hay. Dr. Hayden’s study assessed the risk of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease in 4012 of these subjects, all of which were free of dementia when the study began. Her analysis found consistent significant relationships between new-onset dementia and exposure to organochlorine and organophosphate pesticides. In addition, any exposure to pesticide was associated with a 56% increase in the risk of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.