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Air Pollution Linked To Dementia In Older Women

Update Date: Feb 02, 2017 07:40 AM EST

A new research that was published on Tuesday showed strong evidence that links air pollution and dementia risk. The study suggests that older women who breathe heavily polluted air, such as vehicle exhaust, may elevate the risk of dementia by 92 percent.

The effects of air pollution are more noticeable in women who carry a gene known as APOE-e4. This can put them at higher risk for developing Alzheimer's. Older women are four times likelier to develop global cognitive decline, which is a measurable loss of memory and reasoning skills that greatly impact brain health.

According to Los Angeles Times, a study in 2011 from the journal Lancet found that those who lived near roads with dense traffic were at a higher risk of stroke and dementia. Similarly the new study noted 81 percent cognitive decline in women who lived in heavily polluted areas.

Daily Mail reported researchers from the University Of Southern California conducted a nationwide study of six million women aged 65 to 79 years old for 11 years. They found that those who had the APOE-e4 genes were three times more likely to develop dementia when exposed to heavy air pollution. 

The study was published in the journal Translation Psychiatry by geriatric and environmental health specialists at USC and involved a large population of American women.  

Researchers used air pollution standards from the US Environmental Protection Agency and found in 2012 some 21 percent of new cases of dementia have been attributed to air pollution. Exposure to high levels of air pollutants increased dementia behavioral signs by 92 percent. Signs include disorientation, memory less, amyloid beta protein clumps in the brain and the die-off of cells in the hippocampus which is the key center for memory formation.

There are nearly 48 million people who suffer from dementia worldwide. There have been 7.7 million new cases found every year according to the World Health Organization. The new research advised to stay away from heavily polluted cities to prevent cognitive decline in older women.

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