Researchers from Edinburgh University have found that those who were born and raised in rural areas are at a greater risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease later in life than those who were born and grew up in towns and cities.
While they have yet to uncover the cause of the trend, scientist have suggested that factors like access to health care or exposure to certain substances in either the countryside of in cities may have played a role, reports The Telegraph.
The countries studied included the UK, the US, and Canada as well as less developed nations like Nigeria and Peru. While rates of dementia as a whole did not differ much between rural and urban areas, results for Alzheimer’s specifically, which is a strain of dementia, showed a marked difference, according to the results, which were published in the International Journal of Epidemiology.
The Daily Mail notes that Dr Tom Russ led the study and emphasized that the difference between the two groups could be benefits associated with living with cities instead of harmful factors linked to the countryside. Russ stated:
“We don’t really know the mechanism. It could be to do with access to health care, exposure to some unknown substance, socioeconomic factors, or a number of other factors. We’re currently looking into this question in more detail.”
The researchers’ next goal is to identify the reason for this difference so that they can find out if something can be done early on in life in order to reduce the chances of people getting the incurable condition.
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