Everyday ‘risk factor’ linked to memory loss is ‘difficult to prevent,’ according to a dementia warning.
DEMENTIA researchers have warned that an everyday “risk factor” linked to the development of memory loss is “difficult to prevent” and that public health officials should address it.
According to a groundbreaking new study, long-term exposure to air pollution is connected to an elevated risk of dementia. The study, sponsored by the University of Washington in the United States, looked at data gathered over a 40-year period to reach its alarming results. The researchers combined data from a dementia trial that began in the 1990s with data on air quality extending back to the 1970s.
The researchers studied 4,166 individuals in Seattle who had signed up for the Adult Changes in Thought (ACT) Study.
More than 1,000 individuals had dementia by the end of the trial.
The culprit, according to the researchers, is poor air quality and fine particulate matter (PM2.5).
Their findings show that even a minor increase in fine particulate matter (PM2.5) exposure over a decade can significantly raise the risk of dementia.
Particulate matter refers to solid particles and liquid droplets with a diameter of less than 2.5 micrometres.
Soot, dust, ash, and pollutants generated from automobile exhaust are examples of these particles.
“We discovered that an increase in one microgram per cubic metre of exposure associated to a 16 percent greater risk of all-cause dementia,” said Rachel Shaffer, the study’s lead author.
“Alzheimer’s-type dementia was linked in a similar way.”
Although a direct link between various forms of dementia and air pollution has yet to be proved, a rising body of research suggests that poor air quality is a factor.
According to the Alzheimer’s Society, there is “a compelling argument for additional investigation” into this troubling link.
The Washington study, according to the Head of Research at Alzheimer’s Research UK, offers more evidence to the link between pollution and dementia.
However, the expert cautioned that unraveling the multiple “complex lifestyle elements” at play is “tricky.”
“We know that disorders that cause dementia can start up to two decades before symptoms appear,” said Dr. Sara Imarisio.
“While this study looked at air pollution exposure over a ten-year period, the participants were on average 75 years old at the start of the study, and future research should look into how air pollution affects us throughout our lives.”Brinkwire Summary News”.