A new global study highlights the alarming link between air pollution and the risk of Alzheimer’s disease. According to research, living near busy streets is associated not only with changes in brain structure, but also with a significant increase in the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia.
In this pilot study, researchers analyzed data from 460,901 participants over an average follow-up period of 12.8 years. Using detailed information from the UK Biobank, scientists were able to establish a strong link between exposure to traffic pollution and the risk of dementia.
Not only did the study identify a consistent association between living near crowded areas and dementia, but it also found that some air pollutants, such as nitrogen dioxide and PM2.5, play a critical role in this increased risk. Surprisingly, the study found no link between long-term noise pollution and dementia, highlighting the specific importance of air pollution in this context.
Impact on brain structures
In addition to an increased risk of dementia, the study also revealed that proximity to traffic was consistently associated with decreased brain volume in specific regions associated with Alzheimer’s disease. These findings shed new light on potential mechanisms by which air pollution may affect the brain, creating a deeper understanding of the effects of traffic pollution exposure on cognitive health.
This study not only highlights the seriousness of the air pollution problem, but also highlights the importance of public policies aimed at reducing residents’ exposure to these harmful air pollutants. The link between traffic pollution and dementia is a wake-up call to the urgent need to address vehicle emissions and improve air quality in our cities.
As we better understand the factors that contribute to the development of neurodegenerative diseases, research is highlighting the importance of a clean, healthy environment for long-term well-being. Investing in policies to combat air pollution not only protects our planet, but also preserves the mental and cognitive health of future generations.
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