Air pollution increases dementia risk among elderly women: researchers warn

Air pollution is dangerous to the aging brain as it can increase the risk of the Alzheimer's disease and other forms of dementia, a research reported in the journal Translational Psychiatry says.

The adverse affects of air pollution on human health have long been known to scientists, but the new study revealed that tiny air pollutants in the air can also invade the human brain, increasing dementia risk.

A team of experts from the University of Southern California’s (USC’s) Leonard Davis School of Gerontology found in the study that elderly women (ages of 65 and 79 years) living in cities where fine-particle air pollution exceeded standards set by federal health authorities were nearly twice as likely to develop dementia.

Those females, who were with high genetic predisposition for the Alzheimer’s disease, were found to be at an even higher risk of dementia. Such women were found to be at 263 per cent higher risk of developing dementia.

Caleb Finch, who co-authored the study, said, “Although the link between air pollution and Alzheimer's disease is a new scientific frontier, we now have evidence that air pollution, like tobacco, is dangerous to the aging brain.”

The researchers concluded that it their findings were extended to include the United States’ general population, air pollution might be responsible for nearly 21 per cent of all cases of dementia.