Exposure to fine particulate air pollution may increase the risk of dementia in adults

With the use of two enormous studies conducted in the 1970s and in 1994, researchers at the University of Washington were able to conclude that fine particle pollution may increase the risk of dementia in adults.

The research, publicized in Environmental Health Perspectives, reads: “We evaluated the association between time-varying, 10-y average fine particulate matter (PM2.5) exposure and hazard of all-cause dementia. An additional goal was to understand how to adequately control for age and calendar-time-related confounding through choice of the time axis and covariate adjustment.”

Out of the nearly 4,100 participants examined in the study, about 1,100 had reportedly been diagnosed with dementia as a result of air pollution.

“How we’ve understood the role of air pollution exposure on health has evolved from first thinking it was pretty much limited to respiratory problems, then that it also has cardiovascular effects, and now there’s evidence of its effects on the brain,” commented one author of the study in a news release.

“There are some things that individuals can do, such as mask-wearing, which is becoming more normalized now because of COVID. But it is not fair to put the burden on individuals alone. These data can support further policy action on the local and national level to control sources of particulate air pollution.”

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