Does Air Pollution Affect Dementia Rates?

Could air pollution increase the risk of developing dementia?  A new study, published in Translational Psychiatry, used public data collected by the Environmental Protection Agency to help study a group of 3,647 women between the ages of 65 and 79 over a period of 15 years.  The women’s cognitive abilities were tracked from 1995 to 2010 with the use of questionnaires.

According to a recent report in the New York Times, women who lived in regions across the United States with higher concentrations of fine particulates, known as PM 2.5, had a 68 per cent to 91 per cent increased risk for dementia.  Those who carried a gene variant associated with a greater risk for Alzheimer’s Disease and dementia (ApoE4 gene variant) and were exposed to the greatest air pollution showed a 295 per cent increased risk.

In recent years, dementia and Alzheimer’s disease has seen a decline as have the environmental levels of PM 2.5.  Researchers are continuing to study to how much pollution levels impact incidences of dementia.

To read the full study follow this link to the online Translational Psychiatry Journal.