Cognitive decline in older women may be slowed by improving air quality, according to a study published in PLOS Medicine.
The research included the use of a cohort of more than 2,200 older women with no history of dementia upon initial recruitment.
For a span of 20 years, the female participants were followed, with cognitive tests initiated each year. Changes in air quality were also assessed to see how pollution affected cognitive health.
What researchers noticed was that the women who lived in areas with improved air quality saw a slower decline in cognition.
“Air quality (AQ) improvement has been associated with improved cardiopulmonary health and decreased mortality, but to the best of our knowledge, no studies have examined the association with cognitive function,” said Diana Younan, the study’s first author, in the findings.
“We examined whether AQ improvement was associated with slower rate of cognitive decline in older women aged 74 to 92 years.”
“To the best of our knowledge, our study adds novel epidemiologic data strengthening the evidence between late-life exposure to ambient air pollution and cognitive decline,” the study’s authors determined.