The Link Between Air Pollution and Dementia

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A new study that was published in the medical journal BMJ Open on Tuesday shows what is the connection between being exposed to air and noise pollution and the risk of developing dementia.

What did the study find?

What was found through this study is that people who live in the first five most polluted areas in London have a higher risk of developing dementia, compared to the people who live in areas where the annual air pollution amount is lower. According to Iain Carey, the lead author of the paper, those in the first five areas of exposure to high pollution concentration were, in fact, 40 percent more prone to being diagnosed with dementia. In his opinion, the findings from this research should definitely encourage more investigations in the future.

As we know by now, the seventh leading cause of dying across the whole world is dementia, with Alzheimer’s disease being the most common amongst older adults. At the current time, there are approximately 47 million people living with Alzheimer’s disease and other types of dementia worldwide and this number is expected to increase much more in the coming years.

The findings of the new study were quite surprising

Once the researchers analyzed how much air and noise pollution would be in certain areas within Greater London and comparing these results with health records, they found that people who had an annual exposure to nitrogen dioxide (which forms from emissions from power plants and vehicles) from the first top-five exposed areas had an increased risk of developing dementia. The results remained the same even when the researchers took into consideration other risk factors for dementia, like obesity and hypertension. This seems to have come as a surprise to those who initiated the research. Carey mentioned that they “were surprised to find a potential link with dementia”.

As our second lead editor, Anna C. Mackinno provides guidance on the stories Great Lakes Ledger reporters cover. She has been instrumental in making sure the content on the site is clear and accurate for our readers. If you see a particularly clever title, you can likely thank Anna. Anna received a BA and and MA from Fordham University.