Posted on Nov 03, 2016, 6 a.m.
Higher levels of ionizing radiation from airplanes, medical equipment etc. may be a confounding factor in the development of Alzheimer's.
More people than ever are being exposed to ionizing radiation, resonating from medical equipment, microwaves, airplanes and similar devices. One recent study suggests that this type of radiation may be a main contributing factor in the neurodegenerative disease Alzheimer's. Alzheimer's is the preeminent cause of dementia in older people. With the disease progressing at dramatic speeds, it is estimated that by the year 2040, nearly 80 million people will be affected.
Stefan J. Kempf, of the University of Southern Denmark, states the importance of investigating litigating factors behind the disease. The research will bring focus on possible connections between cognitive impairment and radiation. Colleagues from Germany, Denmark, Japan and Italy, initialized an international consortia, showing how low doses of ionizing radiation changes the molecules of the brain, to resemble the pathologies found in that of Alzheimer’s disease.
The study was published by Co-authors from several Universities, including the Institute of Radiation Biology, and the Institute of Pathology. The study concludes that an increased number of people of various age groups are exposed to ionizing radiation, from various sources. Most people receive exposure through their work or their contact with nuclear matter or airline travel. Exposure through imagining devices and therapeutic radiology has dramatically increased. Over 62 million CT scans are being conducted each year in the United States alone, with at least an estimated 20 million of the exams being scanned of the head.
Lower doses of radiation are not extremely harmful, if individuals are not exposed to them over a long period of time. The real danger comes from continual exposure, or accumulated doses of radiation. Recent information collected suggests that even low dosages of radiation, similar to those individuals receive through CT scans, can trigger a molecular change in the brain, and interfere with the cognitive function.
In mice, researchers took a closer look at the molecular alteration of the hippocampus part of the brain. This region of the brain is responsible for memory formation and learning, and it is located in the most vulnerable area of the brain, which Alzheimer’s negatively impacts. Throughout the experiment, the mice were given various dosages of radiation treatments over a 24 hour period, for nearly a year. Of the various dosages, the tests concluded that at any dosage, regardless of the amount, can cause molecular changes in the brain, and in the synapses, that mimics Alzheimer’s disease.
Paper: Chronic low-dose-rate ionising radiation affects the hippocampal phosphoproteome in the ApoE?/? Alzheimer mouse model. Forfattere: Stefan Kempf, Dirk Janik, Zarko Barjaktarovic, Ignacia Braga-Tanaka III, Satoshi Tanaka, Frauke Neff, Anna Saran, Martin Røssel Larsen, Soile Tapio. OncoTarget, 20. september 2016.