Could Alzheimer’s disease be so prevalent in the United States because of our good hygiene? Some scientists think so.
The “hygiene hypothesis” has been thrown around to explain many different ailments – everything from allergies to autoimmune conditions. The idea behind it is that because we live in such a “clean” society that our bodies are not exposed to the normal bacteria, viruses, and parasites it would normally be.
Because of that, they theorize, our immune systems don’t get the exercise that they should be and so we become overly sensitive. Essentially, our immune systems get bored and start acting up and attacking the body.
The rate of Alzheimer’s disease is very high in urbanized countries and scientists theorize that hygiene is the key. Although their data currently supports the hypothesis, it is difficult to say at this time whether it is a definite cause or just a coincidence. In fact, the hygiene hypothesis hasn’t been proven to relate to any condition just yet. More research must be done.
So although it is an interesting idea, don’t throw away your hand soap just yet! The hygiene hypothesis may just be a red herring in the search for the cause of Alzheimer’s disease.
For more studies on Alzheimer’s disease, click here!