Pollution and Alzheimer's: Improving air quality reduces risk, now three new studies confirm this

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Elia Tabuenca García
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This reconfirms the importance of implementing policies and actions that aim to maintain good air quality.

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New studies show the relationship between air pollution and the increase in various types of dementia, reconfirming the importance of implementing policies and actions that aim to maintain good air quality.





There are several studies that show how poor air quality seriously affects our health, but for the first time there are results that prove that improving air quality - i.e. reducing air pollution - improves citizens' cognitive function. and the risk of various types of dementia is reduced, particularly with regard to Alzheimer's disease.

This is the main conclusion that emerged, following the presentation of some research, during the Alzheimer's Association International Conference - AAIC, the world's largest conference of researchers focused on Alzheimer's and other dementias, realized this week both in attendance in Denver in the United States. that virtually.

Both rising air pollution levels and rising dementia cases are threats to public health around the world. In various studies published in recent years, experts have linked air quality with cognition, and now the data presented at the AAIC 2021 highlights how air pollutants can influence dementia and what their reduction could mean for brain health. long-term.

The exciting thing is that we are now looking at data showing how improving air quality can actually reduce the risk of dementia. These data demonstrate the importance of federal and local government and business policies and action addressing the reduction of air pollutants, ”said Claire Sexton, DPhil, Alzheimer's Association director of science and awareness programs.

Main conclusions

The leaders of the AAIC 2021 highlight the results of three studies, conducted in different parts of the world and with various population groups, which show how air pollutants can influence dementia and what their reduction could mean for brain health long-term.


Key findings include:

  • Reductions in fine particles (PM2,5) and traffic-related pollutants (NO2) by 10% of the current Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) standard over 10 years have been associated with reductions of 14% and 26% risk of dementia and slower cognitive decline in older US women. These benefits occurred in women regardless of their age, educational level, the geographic region they lived in, and whether they had cardiovascular disease.
  • In the population studied in France, the reduction in PM 2,5 concentration over 10 years was associated with a 15% reduction in the risk of having any type of dementia, and for Alzheimer's disease by 17% for each microgram. less pollutant per cubic meter of air in atmospheric pollution.
  • In a large cohort (group studied for a definite time) in the United States, long-term exposure to air pollutants was associated with higher beta amyloid levels in the blood, showing a possible biological connection between air quality and changes. physical brain that define Alzheimer's disease.

Our findings suggest that air pollution may be a major factor in the development of dementia. Many other factors that influence dementia cannot be changed, but reduced exposure to air pollution may be associated with a lower risk of dementia. More research is needed, ”explained Christina Park, a graduate student in the Department of Epidemiology at the University of Washington.


Rising air pollution levels and dementia cases directly impact global public health. This is yet another confirmation of the absolute need on the part of both institutions and individuals, also involving citizens, to increase their efforts to improve air quality, for the well-being and health of our society.


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SOURCE: AAIC 2021

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