Home LanguageEnglish Scientists Link Better Air Quality to Lower Dementia Risk in Elderly Women

Scientists Link Better Air Quality to Lower Dementia Risk in Elderly Women

by Audrey Hazel
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The significance of air quality has been underscored by a recent study conducted in the United States. The research indicates that enhancing air quality holds the potential to diminish the risk of dementia among women aged 74 to 92, concurrently mitigating the likelihood of memory loss and decline in brain function.


Research indicates air quality as one of the factors in dementia risk. (Photo via unsplash.com)

Los Angeles, CA (Merxwire) – Epidemiological investigations have demonstrated that enhancements in air quality yield improvements in respiratory health and a reduction in mortality rates. Furthermore, an expanding body of evidence substantiates the association between air pollution and the risk of dementia. A study featured in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America (PNAS) revealed that substantial decreases in air pollution have the potential to lower the risk of dementia in older women.

The study analyzed 2,232 female subjects who lived in 48 contiguous U.S. states and were predominantly non-Hispanic white women, none of whom had been diagnosed with dementia at the start of the study. Researchers used the Telephone Interview for Cognitive Status (TICSm) and the Telephone-based California Verbal Learning Test (CVLT) as an annual measure of cognitive function from 2008 to 2018.

To understand the association between air quality and cognitive function, the researchers conducted average cross-validation of subjects’ performance on the test and changes in annual average outdoor air pollution concentrations in the area where they lived.

During the study period, 398 subjects (about 18%) developed dementia. The data showed that subjects living in areas with greater reductions in particulate matter particle size of ≦2.5 (PM2.5) and nitrogen dioxide (NO2) suffered from dementia compared to areas with less improvement in air quality lower risk.

The researchers said that people living in areas with about 20 percent lower PM2.5 and NO2 had a 20 percent lower risk of developing dementia.

Air quality affects cognitive function and may lead to other health issues. (Photo via unsplash.com)

Researcher Diana Younan said reducing exposure to air pollution may lead to healthier brains in older women. Air pollutants can cause inflammation in the lungs and blood, which can be harmful to an already aging brain, affecting brain function. She stressed that continued efforts to monitor air quality are important to improve brain health in older women.

In addition, air quality is also one of the main factors leading to lung cancer. The number of lung cancer patients worldwide is increasing; in the past, smoking was the leading cause of lung cancer, and governments called for people to stay away from smoking. However, smoking numbers have declined in some countries, while lung cancer rates have increased.

Cities with severe industrial pollution have more particulate matter, so industrial areas are more prone to lung cancer. In particular, PM2.5 micrometers have more substantial penetrating power, can penetrate lung tissue, and enter the blood along with blood vessels, which greatly impacts the human body and ecology. Therefore, reducing air pollution and caring for the earth cannot be delayed.

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