Following the news tonight on A Current Affair (here) they had a rather disturbing item about Alzheimers disease during which they said that there were 1,600 new cases diagnosed every week in Australia.
Now to put this into perspective there are about 15 Division One lotto winners across Australia every week when you add up the winners from all of the various lotto games that are run (OzLotto Tuesday, PowerBall Wednesday, Monday Lotto, Thurday Lotto, and everyone’s favourite, Saturday Lotto). So basically you are about 100 times more likely to get diagnosed with Alzheimers disease in any given week than you are to win Lotto.
This caused me to do a little more research on Alzheimers. As you can see from the Top 6 causes of ‘natural’ death in the Western World in the chart I found (at left) Alzheimers is sixth. BUT … this chart shows that the death rates from the Top 5 are decreasing. Deaths from breast cancer fell 3 percent from 2000 to 2008. Deaths from prostate cancer fell 8 percent (another one that scares me), and deaths from heart disease fell 13 percent. However deaths from Alzheimers increased a whopping 66 percent.
I couldn’t find a chart showing 2010 or 2011 data but presumably that is even worse.
If you are interested in more information about Alzheimers I found a great PDF document you can download an open here.
From about 20 Web sites I looked at and quickly browsed it seems that they don’t really know exactly what causes Alzheimers or why the rate of Alzheimers is skyrocketing in the Western World, but following are some of the possible reasons:
- The build up of pollutants in the air, especially pollutants from automobiles with atomised rubber (from vehicle tyres) being one of the possible candidates. Who would have thought that there was all this atomised rubber in the air but I suppose there must be from all the cars on the road causing tyre wear.
- Alcohol abuse and alcohol ‘poisoning’ (which basically means consuming too much alcohol but I would suggest that, by and large, people are not consuming much more alcohol in these days compared to 30 or 50 or 100 years ago—but I could be wrong).
- Marijuana (THC) usage (which could be a possibility as marijuana usage has increased significantly over the same time scale that the rate of Alzheimers has increased—but this could be sheer coincidence).
- General lower health levels due to being overweight and/or lack of activity (which again could be a possibility as this also has increased over the same time period that the rate of Alzheimers has increased—but again, could simply be a coincidence).
- Whiplash and/or head injuries where the damage to the brain can take 5 to 15 years to develop into Alzheimers.
- Aluminium ‘poisoning’ (which was a very popular likely cause of Alzheimers in the mid-1980s but is less popular now although it is still considered a possibility and is a result of the use of aluminium-based cooking utensils and drinking directly from beer and soda cans with aluminium lids).
- Processed foods due to the high levels of nitrates.
- The chemicals that leach out of plastic drink bottles into the drink they contain (Coke, water, whatever), especially if the plastic bottle is frozen and then defrosted (which, like the Aluminium poisoning, was very popular theory in the early 2000s).
However from the quick reading I did, apart from a family history of Alzheimers which does put you into a very high risk category, there is no real evidence of what starts or accelerates Alzheimers.
Just another one of life’s little joys to look forward to.
On the upside, if you are under 40 then the chance of developing Alzheimers is very low, but once you get into your 40s the chances start climbing rather dramatically.
Oh! And did I mention that this is no cure or treatment for Alzheimers? Not a thing. Nothing.
As I said before: Crap!