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Lack of Schooling, Farm Upbringing May Boost Alzheimer’s Risk. Part 2

by Daniel on April 26th, 2012

“Our results suggest that lower education and rural residence have an interactive effect in increasing the risk for subsequent development of Alzheimer’s disease,” the authors conclude.

The investigators speculate that low education may have been associated with greater levels of poverty, malnutrition and deprivation among children dwelling in rural environments, affecting their physical and psychological development. “It might be hypothesized that those individuals with low education and living in rural areas were exposed to more environmental toxins as the result of more extensive hours of farm labor compared with children spending more time in classrooms,” Hall’s team adds. Furthermore, they note, African-American farmers from that generation often faced barriers to education, equal employment, and health and social services.

On the other hand, city dwellers who reached higher education levels may have been “better able to take advantage of economic and cultural activities involving continuing intellectual stimulation,” the researchers propose.

But Hall and colleagues warn against overinterpretation of their findings. “It is also possible that (our) findings are unique to the special circumstances of African Americans in the rural south,” they caution. “It is uncertain, therefore, whether our findings also may apply in other populations and account for such reported discrepancies (in results on the effects of education as a risk for Alzheimer’s disease).”

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