Air pollution linked to higher risk of Alzheimer’s disease

Credit: Unsplash+.

A groundbreaking study from Emory University has unveiled a concerning link between air pollution and an increased risk of Alzheimer’s disease.

This research, focusing on adults living in the Atlanta metropolitan area, scrutinizes the effects of environmental factors on brain health, offering new insights into the ways our surroundings may influence the onset of Alzheimer’s.

The study involved 1,113 participants, aged between 45 and 75, all part of the Emory Healthy Brain Study. These individuals, who were cognitively healthy at the study’s outset, provided a closer look at how ambient and traffic-related air pollution at home could affect the brain.

Specifically, the research found that those exposed to higher levels of air pollution had higher levels of amyloid plaques in their cerebrospinal fluid, a hallmark of Alzheimer’s disease.

This finding is significant as it represents one of the largest studies to date to establish a direct correlation between air pollution and brain degeneration.

Anke Huels, Ph.D., the lead author of the study and an assistant professor at Emory’s Rollins School of Public Health, emphasized the implications of these findings.

She pointed out that air pollution could start affecting the brain decades before Alzheimer’s disease symptoms appear, highlighting a crucial period for potential intervention and prevention strategies.

The study not only reaffirms the general health risks associated with air pollution but also underscores its specific threat to brain health and the development of Alzheimer’s disease.

James Lah, MD/Ph.D., the principal investigator of the Emory Healthy Brain Study and an associate professor in the Department of Neurology at Emory’s School of Medicine, echoed Huels’ concerns.

He suggested that reducing air pollution could serve as a significant step toward decreasing the prevalence of Alzheimer’s disease.

This perspective offers a glimmer of hope, suggesting that environmental improvements could have a direct impact on public health, particularly in preventing neurodegenerative diseases.

Given these findings, the study’s authors recommend several strategies for reducing exposure to air pollution.

These include limiting outdoor activities on days with poor air quality, wearing protective masks such as N95s when necessary, and following general health tips known to decrease Alzheimer’s risk.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention suggest maintaining a healthy diet, regular physical activity, managing blood pressure and blood sugar, quitting smoking, limiting alcohol consumption, and ensuring adequate sleep as part of a holistic approach to reducing Alzheimer’s risk.

This research adds a significant piece to the puzzle of understanding Alzheimer’s disease, highlighting the intricate ways our environment interacts with our health.

It calls for a broader consideration of how air quality not only affects our lungs but also our brains, offering yet another reason to pursue cleaner, healthier environments for all.

If you care about Alzheimer’s disease, please read studies that bad lifestyle habits can cause Alzheimer’s disease, and strawberries can be good defence against Alzheimer’s.

For more information about brain health, please see recent studies that oral cannabis extract may help reduce Alzheimer’s symptoms, and Vitamin E may help prevent Parkinson’s disease.

The research findings can be found in Environmental Health Perspectives.

Copyright © 2024 Knowridge Science Report. All rights reserved.