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Clean Air Can Lead To A Healthy Brain

Clear blue sky with white colds and the sun

Air pollution where you live is something you might want to pay more attention to: Improved air quality has been tied to a lower risk of dementia, anew study finds. 


There are two different types of air pollution. Nitrogen dioxide pollution, which is related to traffic; and fine particulate matter pollution, which is tiny pieces of solids or liquids in the air such as dust, dirt, and smoke. People who lived in areas with lower nitrogen dioxide levels, according to the study, were 26 percent less likely to develop dementia. Those who lived in areas with less particulate matter pollution were 14 percent less likely to develop dementia. Scientists who have observed the link between air pollution and dementia say the results show better air quality could reduce the risk of dementia. 

Air Quality and the Brain

The possible benefits of better air quality extend to cognitive function as well. Compared to those living in areas with higher pollution, people who lived in areas with reduced levels of nitrogen dioxide and fine particulate matter had a lower cognitive age. Their cognitive function resembled that of someone who was 1-1.5 years younger while their risk of dementia was similar to that of someone 2.4 years younger. 

Better air quality can help you avoid Alzheimer’s, too. Higher levels of air pollution are linked to higher levels of plasma beta-amyloid, the protein associated with Alzheimer’s disease. Therefore, living in an area with better air quality defends you against an increased risk of Alzheimer’s. 

With the increase of urbanization and the release of more and more greenhouse gases, it’s important to understand the impact of air pollution on us. This data shows that air pollution can affect our brains and how we age cognitively. We all want healthy brains, and clean air may be the path to better overall cognitive health.