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Dirty Air

Incident Dementia Cases Connected to Long-Term Air Pollution Exposure

By Jonathan Springston, Editor, Relias Media

Older adults exposed to dirty air for too long might be at higher risk of developing dementia, according to the authors of a recently published paper.

Researchers studied data collected between 1998 and 2016 for more than 27,000 U.S. adults age 50 years and older who had not been diagnosed with dementia at baseline. The authors gathered air quality measurements and used a prediction model to estimate fine particulate air matter exposure at participants’ residential addresses.

Over 10 years of follow-up, the authors reported more than 4,000 participants developed dementia. Open fires and agriculture were the worst culprits, but researchers also found associations between dementia development and fine particulate matter from road traffic, coal burning, and other sources.

These findings align with other research suggesting a connection between air pollution exposure and cognitive decline, along with studies indicating too much dirty air could raise one’s risk for developing anxiety and depression.

For more on this and related subjects, be sure to read the latest issues of Integrative Medicine Alert, Internal Medicine Alert, and Neurology Alert.