Air Pollution linked to Alzheimer’s

Posted on Friday 13 December 2019 by CarTakeBack

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The latest Air Quality News update lead with an article that immediately pricked our interest - entitled ‘Air Pollution Linked to Alzheimer’s Disease’.

A connection is being reported between exposure to air pollution, Alzheimer’s-like brain changes, and worsening memory in older women. In short, research published in the Journal of Neurology found that women in their 70s and 80s, who were exposed to high levels of air pollution, experienced a greater decline in memory than their counterparts who breathed cleaner air. 

Exhaust pipe of a car that's running.

You will hopefully be aware that CarTakeBack is an enthusiastic supporter of air quality campaigns such as World Car Free Day and Clean Air Day, as well as the vehicle scrappage schemes designed to reduce the number of old polluting vehicles on our roads. It’s essential we all take action and do what we can to improve air quality, especially now we are aware that it could also be contributing to Alzheimer's.

With a contact at Alzheimer’s Research UK (ARUK) we were quick to speak to the charity and get their take on these findings. This is what they had to say:

“Dementia isn’t an inevitable part of getting older but is caused by a complex mix of age, genetics and environmental factors. With one in three people born today set to develop dementia in their lifetime, there is a pressing need to identify and understand potential risk factors for the condition. Large, well-conducted studies have highlighted an association between dementia risk and local levels of air pollution, but we can’t be sure of cause and effect in this relationship.

“The link between air pollution and dementia risk is a growing area of research. This study highlights the importance of further studies that look into exposure to pollution over a longer period of time, and investigate the possible biological mechanisms underlying this link. While research in this area continues, air pollution can impact a number of different aspects of our health and working towards cleaner air in our cities should be an important public health goal.”

While there is obviously a great deal more work to do in this area it still strengthens the case that we need to act fast when it comes to lowering emissions. Taking old cars off the road, using alternative transport, or none at all when we can, and just being more mindful of when we do use our cars can all have a significant impact.

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