Rise in Brain Disease Linked to Environment, Observer Reports

Aug. 15 (Bloomberg) -- A worsening environment in the world's most developed nations is causing rising cases of brain disease, the U.K.'s Observer newspaper said, citing a report in Public Health.

Increasing amounts of pesticides, industrial effluents, domestic waste, car exhaust and other pollutants were cited as the main causes for the increase in brain diseases such as Alzheimer's, Parkinson's and motor neurone disease, the newspaper reported.

Deaths from brain diseases rose in England and Wales to a rate of 10,000 a year in the late 1990s from 3,000 a year in the 1970s, said Professor Colin Pritchard of Bournemouth University, one of the report's authors, the Observer said.

The study was conducted in Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the Netherlands, Spain, the U.K. and the U.S. between 1979 and 1997, the paper said. Researchers said they took into account the fact that people are living longer and also made allowances for improving diagnoses of these diseases, the Observer said.

(The Observer 08-15)