A recently published research has revealed that people living closer to major roads have higher dementia rates.
The study has suggested that as many as 11 percent of dementia cases happen to people residing within 50 metres of a major road.
To conduct the study, the researchers observed the lives of 2 million Canada residents for more than 11 years. They concluded that noisy traffic and air pollution could be a major contributory factor when it comes to brain decline.
Dementia experts from the United Kingdom said that these findings ought to undergo thorough inspection but are plausible.
Statistics show that dementia cases affect about 50 million of world population. What triggers this disease that kills one’s brain power is yet to be understood.
Increase in population
The Lancet-published study was conducted from 2001 to 2012 and involved two million participants.
There were 243,611 cases of dementia diagnosed during that time, but the risk was greatest in those living closest to major roads.
The following are the comparison in terms of distance from the road:
2% higher between 101 to 200m
4% higher between 50 to 100m
7% higher within 50m
According to this analysis, there is a 7-11 percent increase in dementia rates within 50 metres of a major road.
This study was then adjusted to factor in considerations like obesity, poverty, and education levels and smoking but these were unable to explain the link.
“Increasing population growth and urbanization have placed many people close to heavy traffic, and with widespread exposure to traffic and growing rates of dementia, even a modest effect from near-road exposure could pose a large public health burden. More research to understand this link is needed, particularly into the effects of different aspects of traffic, such as air pollutants and noise,” said Dr Hong Chen, from Public Health Ontario and one of the report authors.
What should I do?
The World Health Organization reports that three million people die on a yearly basis due to outdoor air pollution. That gives you more than enough reasons to keep off cities with polluted air.
Among the risks that people living in polluted cities face include heart disease, lung cancer and respiratory diseases. But the WHO doesn’t point out whether we should include dementia on the list.
Therefore, if you’ve not already been persuaded to up-sticks and move somewhere greener, then this study shouldn’t change your mind.
Among the dementia risk factors include:
Type 2 diabetes
Interesting and provocative
The director of the Centre for Dementia at the University of Nottingham, Prof Tom Dening, sees the findings to be not only “interesting” but also “provocative.”
“It is certainly plausible that air pollution from motor exhaust fumes may contribute to brain pathology that over time may increase the risk of dementia, and this evidence will add to the unease of people who live in areas of high traffic concentration,” he said.
The simplest solution to curbing dementia rates is to live a healthy lifestyle. This includes avoiding smoking, eating healthily and exercising.