Mental decline affecting people at earlier age
Since 1979, the death rate for neurological diseases has increased more in the United States than any other Western country, rising 66 percent among men and 92 percent among women. But research at Bournemouth University in the U.K. suggests that this spike is not simply due to the fact that people are living longer because there also has been an alarming rise in dementia and other neurological disorders among people under 55 years old.
And this “hidden epidemic” is not just occurring in the U.S. The researchers found that the rise of neurological disease deaths in adults under 74 rose significantly in all 16 countries they studied.
Most concerning about these figures is what the researchers speculate may be related to the rise in neurological diseases. The doctors calculate that this is not likely a genetic problem, as three decades is not long enough to reflect a significant genetic change. However, earlier onset in Western countries, they noted, could be attributed to new technology introduced during this period, including the explosion of electronic devices, rises in microwaves, TVs, mobile phones, increased pollution and more chemical additives in foods, to name a few. The researchers suggested that no one single environmental factor is responsible, but rather that the interaction of all these triggers could be causing the spike.