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'Adoption of Unleaded Gasoline in the 1970s and Dementia Prevalence'

‘This study [‘A Comparison of the Prevalence of Dementia in
the United States in 2000 and 2012.’] provides additional support for
the emerging evidence that the prevalence and incidence of dementia
may have decreased substantially in recent decades in the United
States and other developed countries. We propose that the removal of
lead from gasoline 4 decades ago may play a role in this precipitous

JAMA Intern Med. 2017;177(6):892-893

Could be but the print’s too small to read. I think we were mainly concerned about kids and lead and the effect it would have on development. There were lots of other sources of lead though back then. Remember chewing on the window sills with the lead paint? I do. Don’t know why but a lot of kids did. Then there was the lead in copper pipes for drinking water but the joints did tend to get covered after a while. With cars though the lead got deposited in the dirt along the roads so even when it wasn’t in the gas anymore it was still around. Whether there is a direct relationship who knows but its good that the use of lead has been reduced. I think there are just too many other variables though.

Way back in the 70’s research found that preservatives in food caused less senile plaques leading to a lower rate of dimensia and Alzheimers, Once you see experts agree, mark it false on the exam was my advice in college from a noteworthy professor.

Artificial color. Artificial flavor. Preservatives. Pesticides. Lead. Asbestos. and Refined Sugar was the food pyramid while I was growing up.

Interesting. My experience is that the dementia problem is getting worse too over the past 30-40 years. But others feel that it isn’t getting worse, it is just reported more often now. My theory has been that it is due to the use of water heaters using aluminum-containing sacrificial anodes.

I didn’t read the article, but it seems to imply that lead isn’t the problem. B/c the incidence goes up with removing lead from gasoline. If anything it is lack of lead, or whatever is used to replace the lead.

My experience is that statistics are constantly invented to match the political agenda du jour.


The article is a letter to the author of the original study that documented the drop in dementia. The letter writer says it (lead elimination) is a hypothesis that needs to be studied. So it might have something to do with it, might not.

But I’m very happy we stopped using lead, a known toxin.

I think the dementia problem may be greater than 30-40 years ago, because people are living longer, far longer in some cases

There are arguments that the longer you live, the greater chance you’ll develop some kind of cancer, dementia, etc.


Anode rods are just used in water heaters. You usually don’t drink hot water or even cook with hot water so I don’t see the exposure from anode rods. We don’t even use soft water in the kitchen so its just what comes through the pipes. I will have to say though that I do wonder sometimes about the water supplies in some areas.

We’re all living a lot longer than even our parents, and, last time I checked, we all are going to die of something and we aren’t all going to be our bright, perky selves every day until we get hit by lightning. In my lifetime polio, measles, mumps, pneumonia, lots of heart disease, many kinds of strokes have been dialed back.

You have to see who funded the study. Authors are supposed to disclose if there is a conflict of interest. But you have to take their word for it. Though JAMA is a respected journal, they do have biases - sometimes political. For example, there are those who will invent a conclusion first and then cherry pick data to support the conclusion later. Not saying that was the case here, but in this environment (no pun intended), you have to be careful.

There seems to be no connection other than time between unleaded gas and dementia. It makes little sense that removing a known toxin from the supply chain would INcrease the incidence of dementia. So the conclusion might be that leaded gas was GOOD for us???

Evidence seems to exist that animal fats are good for us while the hydrogenated vegetable oils that replaced them are bad. Took us over 30 years for that to turn back on itself.

Senior moment — remember McDonalds french fries done in animal fats? Wow, those were good!

Bing, most all browsers allow you to zoom in. Check the “view” menu. The print on that article is not at all small for me, perhaps your default font size in your browser is set too low.

edit: ignore that, I didn’t scroll down far enough to see the text graphic. However, I was able to drag it to my desktop and use a graphic program to magnify it to 200%.

I interpret the information differently. The people who went on to develop various types of dementia (all of which are neurological diseases) were children and adolescents during the period when lead was much more prevalent in the environment than it is nowadays, and the brain is much more prone to damage when it is developing during childhood and adolescence.

So, it is possible that removing so much lead from the environment–beginning 40 years ago-- has had a positive effect in terms of reducing the long-term development of neurological disorders.

Just a theory…

It’s been advised for some time now that you should not ingest or cook with water that has been heated by your home water heater. Not only leaching from the heater and its components but heated water more effectively dissolves and transports contaminants from the delivery system. Turns out early versions of PEX produced a nasty combination of volatile chemicals like ETBE when heated…

My personal level of dementia has increased in the last 40 years.

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Today’s dietary bogymen seem to be gluten and high fructose corn syrup. I take it all with a grain of salt. (iodized)

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We even have gluten free communion wafers and wine or grape juice. So when you go up its like trying to order off the board at a Kentucky Fried Chicken. I don’t know what we did 40 years ago. I guess they all suffered in silence. I’m kind of amused though at the gluten free cookies, cake, etc. Maybe its the same as lactose that I try to avoid.

If you don’t have problems with lactose, then it’s harmless. Speaking just for me, if I have a banana split and wash it down with a large Coke, I may just as well have taken a colonoscopy prep.
But other than that, it doesn’t seem to harm me, other than the calories it adds to my diet.

Gluten is fine, except for the 1% or so that can’t tolerate it. The latest nutrition fad: