Air and noise pollution could be linked to an increased risk of dementia, according to a study published Tuesday in the medical journal BMJ Open.
For seven years, researchers tracked the health of over 130,000 older adults aged 50 through 79, who were living in areas with higher rates of air pollution.
During that timeframe, there were 2,181 new cases of dementia, which were then examined according to the patients' exposure to pollutants.
The analysis showed that those living in suburbs with the most air pollution were 40 percent more likely to develop dementia, according to the St. George's University of London.
Iain Carey, a senior lecturer in Epidemiology at St George's University and lead author of the study, said the findings should be approached with a degree of cautions.
However, he pointed out that they replicated results of other recent international studies that have found a link between exposure to air pollution and dementia.
Last year, the Alzheimer's Society highlighted a similar study of approximately 6.6 million people living near a major roadway in Ontario, Canada, who were found to have an increased risk of developing dementia.
A separate study published last month in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, found a link between the long-term exposure to air pollution in China and impaired cognitive performance.
Dr. Thomas Wisniewski, director of the Center for Cognitive Neurology at NYU Langone Health in New York, said the association between dementia and pollution was "biologically quite plausible," but required further studies, CNN reported.
"These sorts of environmental and lifestyle factors account for perhaps a third or so of the attributable risk," he said. "It makes a lot of sense that various environmental and lifestyle issues can affect the prevalence and incidence of dementias and Alzheimer's disease."
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