AlzU Blog

College Professor Says Students Display Bad Habits that May Contribute to Alzheimer’s

Britton Nathan, assistant chair of the science department at Eastern Illinois University in Charleston, Illinois, gave a lecture on the association between common habits of college students, and Alzheimer’s disease (AD).  The presentation explored the cause and effects of AD; it was sponsored by the university’s chapter of the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology.

College students oftentimes feel that Alzheimer’s is an old person’s disease, something they don’t need to worry about—at all.  But, Professor Nathan disagrees.  He says that many students “are often exposed to the very causes that are seen in cases [of Alzheimer’s].” 

Students are known for staying up until all hours of the night, studying; which results in lack of sleep, Nathan explained.  Untreated depression is another risk factor for Alzheimer’s that young people experience often. Poor diet and lack of regular exercise are additional habits that college students oftentimes display on a regular basis—both of which are risk factors for Alzheimer’s disease—said Nathan. Head trauma, experienced by many college sports athletes is a leading underlying cause of AD.  “It [Alzheimer’s disease] is a one-way track of declining,” Nathan said.

Although Alzheimer’s disease usually affects people aged 65 and older, (with a small percentage of those under 65 being affected by early onset AD) the disease process is thought to begin in the brain 20 to 30 years before Alzheimer’s is diagnoses or symptoms of the disease begin.  That’s the reason many experts are now referring to AD as a young person’s disease.

Statistic on Alzheimer’s Disease

•The country with the highest incidence of Alzheimer’s disease is the U.S.
•In 2017 4, 5 million people were diagnosed with “Probable Alzheimer’s.”  The
reason it is not a definitive diagnosis is because AD cannot be diagnosed without an autopsy. 
•Women are at higher risk than men of getting Alzheimer’s disease because of estrogen
levels dropping during menopause.
•5.7 Americans are living with Alzheimer’s today.
•By the year 2050, the number of people diagnosed with AD is expected to rise to nearly 14 million.
•In 2018 Alzheimer’s (and other types of dementia) will cost the U.S. $277 billion
•Early diagnosis could save trillions of dollars in health care expenses in the future.

Nathan says Alzhiemer’s is a terrible disease and he doesn’t want to see himself, or anyone he loves get diagnosed with it.  That the reason he decided to focus his scientific research efforts on Alzheimer’s disease prevention.

The exponential growth of Alzheimer’s disease, worldwide, demands that people of all ages, particularly the younger generation, do something to join the cause to fight against AD.  Prevention and education for younger people, as well as those of all ages, is vital to the cause.  It’s been said by medical experts that 1 in every 3 instances of Alzheimer’s disease could be prevented, and the time is now for students to step up to the plate and learn about how to reduce the risk of getting Alzheimer’s today.

Why Join?

Alzheimer's Universe has been created by medical experts to help learn the latest about AD diagnosis, treatment & prevention

Sign Up

Prevention & Treatment

Learn about the latest tips used to help reduce AD risk, delay onset of symptoms, and how to manage AD using a comprehensive approach

Join Now

Learn More

Click on the button below to learn about why Alzheimer's Universe was created, how it works, and what to expect after joining

Learn More

As Seen On:

The Today Show

Share with friends and family: