Worrying warning: living in places with heavy traffic increases the risk of dementia

A study led by researchers at the Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences has shed light on a problem of health that affects millions of people around the world: the risk of dementia associated with living close to busy avenues and roads.

However, contrary to what one might think, the problem is not linked to constant noise, but rather to air pollution resulting from intense traffic.

The conclusions, now published in the journal Health Data Sciencereveal that proximity to busy roads is consistently associated with a higher incidence of dementia and a reduction in the volume of brain mass.

Air pollution increases risk of dementia

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A study over 12 years old, based on an analysis of geographic and medical data from 460,000 individuals in the UK, identified a significant increase in the risk of dementia for those living near busy roads.

Compared to people who live more than 1 kilometer from these roads, those who live less than 1 kilometer face a 13% to 14% higher risk of dementia.

The research also revealed changes in brain structuresincluding peripheral cortical gray matter and total brain volume, consistently associated with shorter residence distance from busy roads.

These changes are often linked to Alzheimer’s disease in the pre-symptomatic phase, that is, before the appearance of characteristic clinical symptoms. And the real villain in this equation is the air pollution generated by vehicles.

Although the carbon dioxide was not among the main pollutants associated with these effects, the study highlights the importance of recognizing the health risks associated with air pollution, especially for those who live in high-traffic areas.

These findings have profound implications for public health and urban planning, highlighting the need to address air pollution as a priority health issue to prevent cases of dementia and improve the quality of life for millions of people across the world. world.

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