We have read in books since childhood that air pollution badly affects our lungs and heart. Scientists and researchers after extensive and elaborate researched have found out that the brain is the organ which is more and more affected by air pollution. Every time you ride a car with a combustion engine, you are making yourself vulnerable to diseases like dementia.
The recent research carried out by BMJ Open, has found that extensive exposure to air pollution contributes to the development of dementia later in your life. Survey was done on older people living in Greater London. Other factors were also taken into the study where connections between traffic noise,smoke , air pollution and diseases like diabetes were calculated. This is nothing but connecting the links that can draw a potential relation between neurocognitive diseases and pollution.
Iain Carey, the lead author of the study , who is also an epidemiologist at St. George’s University of London, wrote in an email to Popular Science, “While the findings need to be treated with caution, the study is an important addition to the growing evidence of a possible link between traffic pollution and dementia and should encourage further research to investigate this”.
Dementia is a major health issue across the world. It has topped the position in death causes in England and Wales. Whereas in the world, severe dementia is the sixth leading cause of death. The research further revealed that the pollutants are the tiny bits of particulate matter known as PM2.5, nitrogen dioxide, and ozone which are byproducts of fuel combustion.
To figure out whether pollution and dementia have a direct connection, scientists analyzed the medical records of 131,000 patients between the ages of 50 and 79 over a span of seven years, from 2005 to 2013. They studied how many patients developed dementia during this span.
After controlling other risk factors like smoking, diabetes, age, and ethnicity, Carey and his team found that patients living in areas in the top fifth of nitrogen oxide levels have 40-percent higher risk of being attacked with dementia than those in the bottom fifth, and a similar increase showed up with higher PM2.5 levels.
“I am really excited that we’re starting to see studies like this,” says Melinda Power, an epidemiologist at George Washington University who was part of a 2016 systematic review of research on dementia and air pollution. “I think this one is particularly useful because it accounts for nighttime noise levels.”