Long-Term Exposure To Air Pollution Could Damage Your Brain

  • May 4, 2015


Air pollution, even at moderate levels, may raise your risk of having a stroke, past studies have shown. Now, a new study suggests air pollution may have other damaging effects, at least for middle-aged and older adults. Long-term exposure to air pollution appears to damage brain structures and impair mental function, the researchers found, in older people without dementia or stroke.

“For this study, we looked at exposure over only one year in a population of people over the age of 60,” Dr. Elissa Wilker of the Cardiovascular Epidemiology Research Unit at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center told Medical Daily. While she dares not speculate whether air pollution similarly harms younger people, she and her colleagues are “trying to understand what this means over time,” since “this probably is about longer-term exposures” to air pollution.

The research tracked more than 900 Framingham Heart Study participants — all were at least 60 years old and free of dementia and stroke. The researchers evaluated how far participants lived from major roadways and then used satellite imagery to assess prolonged exposure to ambient fine particulate matter or PM2.5 — particles with a diameter of 2.5 millionth of a meter. Then the researchers examined each participant’s total cerebral brain volume, which is linked to age-associated brain atrophy.

Additionally, they looked at participants’ hippocampus, the area of the brain that controls memory, and the volume of their white matter hyperintensity, which scientists use to measure brain pathology. Finally, they scanned for covert brain infarcts, lesions frequently detected on MRIs that have resulted from a blockage in the blood vessels supplying the brain. Commonly seen as the marks of “silent” stroke, these infarcts are associated with the onset of dementia.

Silent Stroke
The study found that the range of PM2.5 commonly observed across metropolitan regions in New England and New York was linked to participants having smaller cerebral brain volume — equivalent to that of someone one year older — and also linked to the likelihood of participants having brain infarcts.

In fact, those living in these more polluted areas had a 46 percent higher risk of silent strokes.

A variety of sources produce PM2.5. Power plants, factories, trucks and automobiles, and the burning of wood all generate this fine level of particulate matter, which can travel deeply into the lungs. In other studies, PM2.5 has been linked to an increased number of hospital admissions for heart attacks and strokes.

“These findings suggest that relatively low urban background levels of particulate air pollution may contribute to the acceleration of atrophic changes and small-vessel disease in older adults,” the authors wrote in the conclusion of the study.

Asked if people should run from their cities, Wilker laughed. “No,” she said, “instead I always say the most important thing is to try to live a healthy life style.” Keep doing your best!

Source: Wilker E, Preis SR, Beiser AS, et al. Long-Term Exposure to Fine Particulate Matter, Residential Proximity to Major Roads and Measures of Brain Structure. Stroke. 2015.

The post “Long-Term Exposure To Air Pollution Could Damage Your Brain” appeared in Medicaldaily.com on April 23 by Susan Scutti

How To Start A New Physical Therapy Business

Physical therapy is booming all around the world and competition is getting stronger throughout the years. Within the years of studies we have never learnt about the business side of…
Continue reading

3 Things You Probably Don’t Know About Google Adwords

I get asked all the time about Google Adwords. For the uninitiated, Adwords are the ads on the top and side of Google when you enter in a search. Entrepreneurs…
Continue reading

15 Simple Yet Effective Email Marketing Tips

Before you get engaged in Marketing your business, products or services through email read these Email Marketing Tips. You should also know that some email service providers - ESP - allow…
Continue reading

Is Coconut Palm Sugar A Healthy Sugar Alternative?

Coconut palm sugar is a sugar substitute that seems to be gaining popularity in the market. It is made from sap that is extracted from the coconut tree. The taste…
Continue reading

The 20 Most Weight Loss Friendly Foods on The Planet

Not all calories are created equal. Different foods go through different metabolic pathways in the body. They can have vastly different effects on hunger, hormones and how many calories we burn. Here…
Continue reading

The Best Herbs to Improve Memory and Brain Function, Including Brain Enhancer Tonic Recipe

The Best Herbs to Improve Memory and Brain Function: Ginkgo Leaf The ginkgo leaf well known as a remedy to several ailments. It is a versatile herb that strengthen memory and…
Continue reading

These Blended Frozen Banana Recipes Are Better Than Ice Cream

It’s time to rethink the banana. All you need is a freezer and a blender to transform the potassium-, serotonin- and fiber rich fruit into the creamiest, most healthy treat…
Continue reading

5 Reasons Your Business Should Not Advertise on Google AdWords

I’m a huge proponent of advertising on Google AdWords – indeed, my entire business career has been dedicated to helping companies grow through search engine marketing (SEM). As much as…
Continue reading

CEO & founder of CNet Marketing, and is also the founder of a very successful international web hosting company "www.BabilooHost.com" has 14 years of experience in web services industry, a Leading Fully Managed Email Maketing Solutions "www.inteliMails.com" and Online Marketing Agency "www.CNetMarketing.com".

About us

We are dedicated people aiming to deliver important and valuable information and posts gathered from many sources around the web.