There have been many research into the causes of Alzheimer’s disease. These have focused on many genetic and environmental factors as possible root causes for this terrible disease. Most of these research studies have been at the molecular level into the workings of genes and their relationship with other factors in our society and communities that predisposes an individual to develop the disease. For the most part these research results have been at times difficult for the average person to decipher and hence little or no attention have been given to their results.
New medical research finding released in November 2010, have shown that 3 environmental factors to which we can relate, are surfacing as contributing variables in the cause of Alzheimer’s disease. What all three environments factors have in common are a set of chemicals called, Type-2 Alkenes (acrylamide and acrolein). Scientists have found that this group of chemicals essentially damage the nerve endings in the brain of animals and hence had been a great interest to scientists. Further research have now shown that Alzheimer patients have unusually high levels of these two compounds, acrylamide and acrolein in brain tissue. This is a very significant finding.
With this data in hand researchers can now find out a couple things by asking a few questions. Why are these Alzheimer patients with such high levels of type-2 alkenes. What are the factors that causes Alzheimer’s patients to accumulate these chemicals in the brain. And one of the most important questions is , what are the preventative methods that need to be put in place so that we do not have individuals accumulating levels of type-2 alkenes in the brain.
So what 3 environmental factors have recently been shown to be very much associated with increases in type-2 alkenes in the brain. They are, cigarette smoke, car exhaust and french fries. These are things that affect pretty much everyone in the society. Do you realize that millions of individuals for example are exposed to car exhaust everyday? Do you realize the amount of individuals that eat french fries everyday, sometimes twice a day, who are not only exposed to type2-alkenes but also to high levels of fat and LDL (low density lipoproteins) which are devastating to the health of so many individuals?
First and second-hand cigarette smoke have been factors for lung cancer for many years and now Alzheimer’s disease.
There is one bright side to all this new finding. There are a new compound called 2-ACP which is a neuroprotectant which protects against the neurotoxic damage of type-2 alkenes. 2-ACP can block the effects of type-2 alkenes and serve as protective against Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease. Research into 2-ACP is ungoing.
In summary, type-2 alkenes can be avoided by the following. Avoid the use of cigarettes, second-hand smoke, stay away from excessive digestion of french fries. The other factor, exhaust smoke, although it may seem a bit difficult, we can as a society reduce the effects of smoke from fossil fuels by lowering our use of hydrocarbons in cars and start switching to green automobiles.