Clearing Pollution Helps Clear the Fog of Aging — And May Cut the Risk of Dementia

(By Judith Graham for Kaiser Health News)

During the past decade, a growing body of research has shown that air pollution harms older adults’ brains, contributing to cognitive decline and dementia. What hasn’t been clear is whether improving air quality would benefit brain health.

Two studies published this year by researchers at six universities and the National Institute on Aging provide the first evidence of such benefits in an older population.

One report, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, found that the risk of dementia declined significantly in women 74 and older following a decade long reduction in two types of air pollution: nitrogen dioxide, a gaseous byproduct of emissions from motor vehicles, industrial sources, and natural events such as wildfires; and fine particulate matter, a mix of extremely small solids and liquids arising from similar sources. Continue reading here…

Kaiser Health News is a non profit national health policy news service that is part of the nonpartisan Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation.

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