The risk factors for dementia are well known. The main ones include aging, head injuries, lack of exercise, being overweight, smoking, and genetics.1
But a new study shows that’s not the whole story.
It found that the air you breathe can also determine if you’ll stay mentally sharp as you get older.
A group of researchers affiliated with several universities in London carried out the study.
Past research has implied a link between air pollution and dementia. But the studies were of poor quality. The new research, published in the BMJ, was intended to remedy that situation. It followed about 131,000 people for seven years.2
The research team estimated the amount of both air and noise pollution in various areas throughout the U.K. They then looked at mental health data on the subjects. They were between the ages of 50 and 79 in 2004, when the study started. None had been diagnosed with dementia at the time.3
Using the subjects’ home addresses as a guide, the scientists were able to estimate how much pollution exposure each subject had over the years. The researchers focused on ozone (O3), fine particulate matter (PM2.5), and nitrogen dioxide (NO2).
The researchers then traced the brain health of their subjects. Nearly 2% developed dementia during the study.
The data showed that people living in areas with the worst air pollution had a 40% higher risk of dementia than people with the lowest exposure.
Noise pollution was not found to have an association with dementia.
Keep Your Lungs Clean…and Your Mind Sharp
Protect your brain by minimizing your air pollution exposure:
- Get a HEPA filter. The most convenient way to clean the air in your home is to add a HEPA filter system to your furnace and/or air conditioning system. HEPA stands for “high efficiency particulate air.” They capture ultrafine particles, including just about all air pollutants.4You can also buy stand-alone filters, which are less costly than whole-house systems.
- Don’t exercise near busy streets. If you jog or cycle stick to nature trails, parks, and other areas well away from car exhaust.
- Don’t use gas-powered lawn-care equipment. Small gas engines in mowers, trimmers, and chainsaws expose the user to heavy doses of pollutants. New electric versions often do the job just as well while being emission-free.
Editor’s Note: If you’re worried about Alzheimer’s, there’s something else you should know… It’s NEVER too late to build a strong brain. That’s why Dr. Nussbaum created his unique Ageless Brain Kit.
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