Dementia worse in poor areas
LIVING in the suburbs could help protect you from dementia, a study found.
People in poorer areas were far more likely to show the early signs of Alzheimer’s disease than those who lived in wealthier districts. Scientists say factors such as pollution, limited access to healthy food or space to exercise and low levels of education may have a damaging effect on brain health.
But the reverse could be true of affluent areas, where access to good education, nutrition and cleaner air can promote health. Dr Dean Hartley, of the US-based Alzheimer’s Association, said: “It is not only things like good schools, nutrition and exercise programmes (in wealthier areas), it is not having that daily stress that disadvantaged areas bring,” such as what will I eat today.
In a study presented at London’s Alzheimer’s Association International Conference 2017, researchers at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health studied data on the socio-economic status of 1 479 people. They then tested cognitive performance.
While people in the wealthiest areas tended to have average or above-average clinical scores in the tests, scores dropped with each level of deprivation. Participants from the poorest areas scored about 25% below average, even after age and education were accounted for. Poor cognitive function is a warning sign of Alzheimer’s.