October 18, 2016
1 min read

Vitamin D deficiency may increase risk for dementia

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A comprehensive systematic review indicated exposure to air pollution, aluminum, pesticides, vitamin D deficiency and other variables moderately increase risk for dementia.

“We found that the evidence is particularly strong for air pollution and vitamin D deficiency. But we really need more research to find out whether these factors are actually causing dementia and how, and if so, what we can do to prevent this,” study researcher Tom Russ, PhD, MBChB, of the Alzheimer Scotland Dementia Research Centre at the University of Edinburgh, said in a press release.

To assess potential modifiable risk factors for dementia, researchers conducted a systematic review of 60 studies that examined associations between environmental risk factors and dementia.

They found at least moderate evidence that air pollution, aluminum, silicon, selenium, pesticides, vitamin D deficiency and electric and magnetic fields increase risk for dementia.

“The published evidence concerning specific environmental risk factors for dementia is generally not strong. However, there seems to be little role for most metals or other trace elements, occupational exposure to lead, inks/dyes, paints/stains/varnishes, gasoline/fuels/oils, liquid plastics/rubbers, vibratory tools, or climate in determining dementia risk,” the researchers wrote. “There is at least moderate evidence consistently supporting air pollution, aluminium, silicon, selenium, pesticides, vitamin D, and electromagnetic fields as putative environmental risk factors for dementia. More and better research is needed and we suggest that this shortlist should form the initial focus of attention.” – by Amanda Oldt

Disclosure: The researchers report no relevant financial disclosures.