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Research on Alzheimer’s disease (AD) has recently begun to expand in the scope of variables considered in examining prevalence worldwide; many scientists argue prevalence is related to geographic distribution of its major symptom, dementia. For this reason, I researched the components of AD and their specific effects on the regional trends of dementia. Evidence from eight peer-reviewed journal articles authored by both neurologists and environmental scientists reveals that researchers argue either the environmental or genetic effects of location on dementia prevalence. However, it appears the regional bias for the disease seen worldwide is caused by a combination of environmental and genetic factors. A singular factor of AD cases varies among different regions of the world, yet always takes a role in prevalence rates: a population’s ability to age. National development and modernization allow for a heightened life expectancy; therefore, the prevalence of AD has risen throughout those regions of the world that exhibit these characteristics. Likewise, as a population ages beyond 65 years old, the frequency of genetic influence increases as a result of the Apolipoprotein E. Together, the environmental and genetic factors of AD converge as one component stimulates the other. Thus, because the development of AD is determined by the aging of an individual, more efficient, accessible, and affordable methods of detecting dementia symptoms must be investigated. Observing AD results from both environmental and genetic characteristics, a systematic test that considers both variables would best lead to earlier detection of the disease in countries where its prevalence is more concentrated.
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Virginia Commonwealth University. Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program
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