Frequent flyers may be increasing their risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease, a new study has revealed.
Researchers suggest that the increased exposure to the sun’s radiation could damage the brain and increase the chances of developed the degenerative cognitive disease.
To test this, Dr Stefan Kempf, of the University of Southern Denmark, experimented on mice to show the changes in the brain’s memory centre after exposing them to low doses of ionising radiation.
Dr Kempf said: “Both dose rates are capable of inducing molecular features that are reminiscent of those found in the Alzheimer’s disease neuropathology.
“When you compare these figures you will find we exposed the mice to a more than 1,000 times smaller cumulative dose than what a patient gets from a single CT scan in the same time interval.
“And even then we could see changes in the synapses within the hippocampus that resemble Alzheimer’s pathology.”
Dr Kempf says the doses used in his experiment are somewhat similar to those you are exposed to when flying in an airplane.
He adds that more humans are being exposed to higher levels of ionising radiation from modern technology, such as medical equipment and aircraft, and this may be a factor in the rising rates of Alzheimer’s disease.
Dr Rosa Sancho, of Alzheimer’s Research UK, said: “The best current research shows there are certain factors that can increase the risk of diseases like Alzheimer’s.
“Many of these can be tackled by leading a healthy life, not smoking, only drinking in moderation, staying physically and mentally active and keeping blood pressure and cholesterol in check.”