The Irish Examiner previously published an excellent report on the increase in dementia in Ireland (‘Dementia tsunami looms’, Catherine Shanahan, June 25, 2015).
In this article, Dr Ronan Collins was quoted as saying: “I have seen the exponential growth of dementia in our clinical workload over the last 15 years, a true tsunami with the burden it imposes on increasing numbers of people and their families, and its cost both in terms of the lost social contribution of the person and through the economic cost of care needed.”
Shanahan also reported that the economic cost of dementia illness in the Republic of Ireland was estimated to be €1.7 billion in 2010.
Like Ireland, the USA has also seen an unprecedented increase in dementia in recent decades. Between 1999 and 2014, deaths rates from Alzheimer’s disease in the USA rose by more than 50 per cent.
The current cost of healthcare for dementia in the USA is US$236bn (€191.2bn). It is important to be aware that the USA and Ireland are two of the most fluoridated countries in the world, with in excess of 70 per cent of their populations provided with artificially fluoridated drinking water.
It is also important to note that in 2003, research published in the Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery and Psychiatry found that lower brain acetylcholinesterase (AChE) activity was associated with cognitive impairment in adults, and that individuals with low AChE activity may have early Alzheimer’s disease changes in the brain.
Most people remain unaware that in 2006, the National Research Council of the National Academies in the USA reported that fluoride inhibits the activities of AChE, and warned of the possibilities that exposure to fluoride may act to increase the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease.
In 2014, the National Academy of Sciences in India reported that exposure to fluoride in drinking water resulted in significant impairment of AChE with the maximum inhibition occurring in the brain.
Importantly, the fluoride levels in drinking water in this study were comparable to that found in artificially fluoridated water in the USA and Ireland. In addition, the study found that co-exposure to fluoride and the Chlorpyrifos, a previously widely used pesticide that was permitted to be used in the agricultural sector in Ireland until March 2016, resulted in synergistic toxicity or enhanced impairment of AChE activity.
More recently, in 2015 the journal Pathophysiology published the findings of another study, which found that drinking water containing recommended levels of fluoride in drinking water resulted in brain neurotoxicity, by causing severe neuronal histomorphological changes and impairing AChE activity in the brain. As with Chlorpyrifos, co-exposure to fluoride and aluminium was found to result in synergistic toxicity.
Based on these findings, one would consider that to reduce the burden of Alzheimer’s disease, it is imperative that public health authorities and the Irish Government stop adding fluoride to our drinking water supplies.
Scientist, Researcher and Risk Management Consultant
Bandon, Co Cork
References available on request