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People Living 50 Meters Near Major Roadway At Greater Risk For Developing Dementia, Study Says

Update Date: Jan 05, 2017 08:30 AM EST

People living within a major roadway have a greater risk of developing dementia, according to a new study. Residents with more than 200 meters (656 feet) distance from busy highways were not seen with any rise in risk. Incidence of Parkinson's disease or multiple sclerosis was not associated with such living condition.

The study, titled "Living Near Major Roads And The Incidence Of Dementia, Parkinson's Disease, And Multiple Sclerosis: A Population-based Cohort Study," monitored adults aged 20 to 85 years old from 2002 up to 2012. Around 6.6 million people living in Ontario, Canada were tracked during the study.

The level of proximity to the major roadway has been associated with the risk of developing dementia.  According to the results of the study, there was a seven per cent increase in risk for people residing within 50 meters (164 feet), four per cent higher risk among those within 50 to 100 meters (328 feet) and two per cent for people within 101 to 200 meters.

City dwellers are more exposed to heavy traffic and pollution. In a report published by Lancaster University, a toxic nanoparticle has been discovered in the human brain which could possibly be the cause of Alzheimer's disease, the most common type of dementia.

Barbara Maher of Lancaster Environment Centre said that the particles found are "abundant in the airborne pollution found in urban settings, especially next to busy roads." Formed from vehicle engines, these can enter the brain through the nose. These nanoparticles, which contain also other metals such as cobalt, nickel and platinum, can pose a great risk to human brain developing dementia and other conditions.

Dementia affects the person's ability to think and remember affecting his activities of daily living. Around the world, around 47.5 million people are affected by this disorder, which starts around the ages of 65 to 74 years old.

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