Studies Are Showing A Link Between Dementia And Air Pollution

In the United States alone, there are over five million people living with some form of dementia. That number is not expected to decrease, especially as the population grows. That means one of six women and one of ten men (over the age of 55) will almost certainly end up with dementia. The question is, what is causing it? Is there any way to stop it?

AIR POLLUTION MAY PUT PEOPLE AT A HIGHER RISK FOR DEMENTIA

A seven-year study published in BMJ Open, a medical journal, now shows that dementia could be linked to air and even noise pollution. More than 130,000 adults between the ages of 50 and 79 who resided in higher-pollution areas were studied.

In those seven years, almost 2,200 new cases of dementia developed. Those patients' exposure to pollution was then investigated. The results showed that those living in areas with high air pollution had a 40 percent increased likelihood of developing dementia.

OTHER STUDIES HAVE HAD SIMILAR FINDINGS

The findings are not yet conclusive regarding the connection between dementia and pollution. Still, it must be noted that other similar international studies have produced results that also indicated the development of dementia may be tied to air pollution.

For instance, in China, research pointed to a link between decreased cognitive abilities and continuous exposure to air pollution. In Ontario, another study of over six million people living near a highway were shown to have a higher risk of developing dementia as well.

THE ENVIRONMENT'S POTENTIAL ROLE IN COGNITIVE DECLINE

While these studies do indicate a possible link between air pollution and dementia, further studies are necessary before scientists can be certain. Doctors are not surprised that environmental factors may play a significant role in the development of dementia and Alzheimer's disease.

The reasoning behind why air pollution could increase a person's risk of developing dementia also remains unclear at this point.