National Institutes of Health

Study Links Alzheimer's Disease With Pesticide DDT

Researchers found people with Alzheimer's disease had an average of four times the amount of DDE, a product of DDT, in their blood.

By Candice Aviles | January 28, 2014

A new study suggests the connection between Alzheimer's in elderly adults and the pesticide DDT might be a strong one.

Researchers at Emory University School of Medicine studied 86 people with Alzheimer's and 79 without. They measured the amount of DDE, which comes from DDT, in their blood and found those with Alzheimer's had four times the amount of those without. (Via CBS, JAMA Neurology)

According to the BBC, the study also showed that when brain cells were exposed to a lot of DDT or DDE, they saw the development of more amyloid plaque in the brain, which is thought to be a cause of the disease. (Via BBC)

The lead author, Dr. Allan Levey, said this is one of the first studies to identify an environmental risk factor for the disease.

"The magnitude of the effect is strikingly large — it is comparable in size to the most common genetic risk factor for late-onset Alzheimer's." (Via BBC)

But a writer for Forbes approaches the findings with caution, saying there are other factors that could play into triggering the disease.

"Genetics is one. It may be that people who have a genetic predisposition to Alzheimer's disease are somehow pushed over the edge with higher exposure to environmental toxins."

DDT was used as a pesticide dating back to the 1940s and wasn't banned until 1972. It's still used in other countries to control mosquitoes and reduce the risk of malaria. (Via KCAL)

The study says Alzheimer's disease cases are set to increase threefold over the next four decades.

  TRENDING IN Sci/Health NEWS
A row of antibiotic pill bottlesWATCHLIST
Getty Images / Joe Raedle

Looking To The Ocean Floor For New Antibiotics

Gravitational waves in a simulation of two black holes mergingWATCHLIST
NASA

What's So Exciting About Gravitational Waves?

Compared to the rest of the national budget, NASA's funding is tiny.WATCHLIST
NASA, Newsy / Evan Thomas

What NASA Would Fund With Its Tiny $19B Wishlist

Asian Elephant in IndiaWATCHLIST
Thangaraj Kumaravel / CC BY 2.0

Why Are Elephants Wandering Into Indian Towns?

Gravitational waves from two stars mergingWATCHLIST
NASA

Einstein Was Right: Scientists Just Showed Gravitational Waves Exist

More than 3,400 kids reportedly swallowed batteries in 2010, according to the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia.WATCHLIST
yoppy / CC BY 2.0

Parents Share Horror Stories After Toddlers Swallow Button Batteries

A video of a man reading while eating.WATCHLIST
Videoblocks

High School Degree, Healthy Heart Might Lower Your Risk For Dementia

Artist rendering of newly researched galaxies.WATCHLIST
International Centre for Radio Astronomy Research

Hundreds Of Galaxies Were Hiding Behind The Milky Way

Medical MarijuanaWATCHLIST
Getty Images / David McNew

Medical Marijuana Might Be Legalized In Australia Really Soon

A man kisses his horse.WATCHLIST
Getty Images / Julian Herbert

Researchers Say Horses Can Recognize Our Facial Expressions

With so many working to fix racial bias in adults, we spoke with a neuroscience researcher who says we may need to focus our attention on kids instead In this file photograph taken on March 20, 2007, a two-week-old boy finds his feet in his new world. Health Secretary Patricia Hewitt announced, April 3, 2007 that for the first time, mothers-to-be will have a guarantee that the NHS will provide them with a full range of birthing choices - including home births - and a midwife they know and trust to care for them. (Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)WATCHLIST
Getty Images / Christopher Furlong

Why Fixing Racial Biases Starts With Babies

Senior citizens walk along Llandudno Promenade on September 8, 2014 in Llandudno, Wales.WATCHLIST
Getty Images / Christopher Furlong

Why Live Forever? Life Is Long Enough

Senior citizens relax on Llandudno Promenade on September 8, 2014 in Llandudno, Wales.WATCHLIST
Getty Images / Christopher Furlong

Want To Live Forever? We Should Cure Aging

The box is filled with vegetables that are still good to eat, but might look a little odd from the outside. They're being sold at a cheap price.WATCHLIST
ASDA

Store Hopes 'Wonky Veg Box' Will Reduce Waste Of Imperfect Vegetables

A little girl poses for a photograph next to a stranded sperm whaleWATCHLIST
Getty Images / Ben Pruchnie

Scientists Offer Theory As To What Killed 30 Sperm Whales

The CRAM (compressible robot with articulated mechanisms) from the PolyPEDAL Lab at UC Berkeley.WATCHLIST
University of California, Berkeley / PolyPEDAL Lab

Cockroach-Inspired Robot Can Squeeze Into Some Tight Spaces

A rare albino green sea turtle leaves its nest.WATCHLIST
Facebook / Coolum District Coast Care Group

Surprise! This Baby Green Turtle Isn't Green At All

Aedes aegypti mosquitos are seen in a lab at the Fiocruz institute on January 26, 2016 in Recife, Pernambuco state, Brazil.WATCHLIST
Getty Images / Mario Tama

The White House Is Asking For $1.8B To Counter The Zika Virus

A graphic of a coded message.WATCHLIST
Newsy

Your Brain Is A Decoding Machine; Give This Message A Try

small pool of water is surrounded by dried and cracked earth that was the bottom of the Almaden Reservoir on January 28, 2014 in San Jose, California.WATCHLIST
Getty Images / Justin Sullivan

Study Says Droughts In The Southwest Could Become More Frequent

A coniferous forest is shown on a mountainside.WATCHLIST
Giorgio Galeotti / CC BY 2.0

Some Trees Might Slow Climate Change Better Than Others

CocktailWATCHLIST
mariobonifacio / CC BY SA 2.0

People Who've Passed The Bar Are More Likely To Drink At The Bar

Various types of fentanyl patches are pictured.WATCHLIST
Alcibiades

Fentanyl Abuse, Overdoses On The Rise In New Hampshire

What Zika is — and what world health agencies are doing about it.WATCHLIST
Newsy / Evan Thomas

What Zika Virus Is — And Isn't

French grocery storeWATCHLIST
christine592 / CC BY ND 2.0

France Now Won't Let Its Grocery Stores Throw Away Unsold Food

LONDON - MARCH 05: A woman sits in her pod-bed dorm room at Piccadilly Backpackers on March 5, 2006 in London, England.WATCHLIST
Getty Images / Scott Barbour

More Couples Aren't Sleeping Together, But Lost Love Isn't Always Why

Image of Johnny Cash and the tarantula species named after him.WATCHLIST
Joel Baldwin / Chris Hamilton et al.

There's A Tarantula Species Named After Johnny Cash

A scientist examines mosquitos.WATCHLIST
WFTX

Gulf Coast States React To Growing Cases Of Zika Virus

Medicine bottles charting the decline in new antibioticsWATCHLIST
Newsy / Andrew Lawler

Why Are There So Few New Antibiotics?

"El Jefe" is thought to be the only jaguar in the wild in the U.S.WATCHLIST
Conservation CATalyst and Center for Biological Diversity

The Only Known Wild Jaguar In The US Caught On Camera In Rare Video