These findings suggest that ionizing radiation is a risk factor for Alzheimer's disease. - GreenMedInfo Summary
Association of Radon Background and Total Background Ionizing Radiation with Alzheimer's Disease Deaths in U.S. States.
J Alzheimers Dis. 2017 Jun 22. Epub 2017 Jun 22. PMID: 28671130
BACKGROUND: Exposure of the brain to ionizing radiation might promote the development of Alzheimer's disease (AD).
OBJECTIVE: Analysis of AD death rates versus radon background radiation and total background radiation in U.S. states.
METHODS: Total background, radon background, cosmic and terrestrial background radiation measurements are from Assessment of Variations in Radiation Exposure in the United States and Report No. 160 - Ionizing Radiation Exposure of the Population of the United States. 2013 AD death rates by U.S. state are from the Alzheimer's Association.
RESULTS: Radon background ionizing radiation was significantly correlated with AD death rate in 50 states and the District of Columbia (r = 0.467, p = 0.001). Total background ionizing radiation was also significantly correlated with AD death rate in 50 states and the District of Columbia (r = 0.452, p = 0.001). Multivariate linear regression weighted by state population demonstrated that AD death rate was significantly correlated with radon background (β= 0.169, p < 0.001), age (β= 0.231, p < 0.001), hypertension (β= 0.155, p < 0.001), and diabetes (β= 0.353, p < 0.001).
CONCLUSION: Our findings, like other studies, suggest that ionizing radiation is a risk factor for AD. Intranasal inhalation of radon gas could subject the rhinencephalon and hippocampus to damaging radiation that initiates AD. The damage would accumulate over time, causing age to be a powerful risk factor.