SARASOTA, Fla. - A new study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association finds there is a link between patients with high levels of DDT and Alzheimer's disease.
DDT is a pesticide used widely in the U.S. for more than thirty years. Studies in animals find the chemical causes changes in the neurological system which is the body's information processor. Now a new study shows patients with Alzheimer's disease have high levels of DDT in their bloodstream.
"The older generation or the generation that would have been exposed to this remember the planes going over head and seeing the spay planes." Said Director of Behavioral Health at Doctor's Hospital of Sarasota. He added the pesticide DDT may be only one of many components putting you at greater risk for the disease.
"Environmental factor's, genetic factors and lifestyle factors. All of those things in common make a possible link to the condition." Said Fitzgerald.
But, this new study involving 86-people with Alzheimer's and 79 without has some compelling findings.
Stephanie Brown, Director of Pharmacy or Doctor's Hospital of Sarasota said. "In the study, they found that the patients with Alzheimer's had higher levels of DDT and its metabolites than the patients that did not have Alzheimer's."
The body breaks down DDT into the chemical DDE, which measured four times higher in the blood of people with Alzheimer's.
Suncoast resident, Jennifer Corn said losing her grandmother to Alzheimer's was heart wrenching, and she is glad there is new research, but, surprised about the findings.
Corn said. "But not enough time and energy and money is being dedicated to finding information out about Alzheimer's, what causes it, what prevents it, how to cure it."
And although no-one really knows the long term affects of some of these chemicals, Corn is hopeful. She said, "If they're able to find it's more of an environmental cause then hopefully that will get them some opportunities to start looking in ways to find a cure."
DDT was used in the U.S. to kill mosquitoes that caused malaria from the 1940's to 1972. The EPA banned its use because of possible risk to wildlife. The World Health Organization endorsed its reintroduction in 2006 and DDT is still used today in some countries to control malaria.