People who live in urban areas with higher levels of air pollution may score lower on thinking and memory tests and may also lose cognitive skills faster over time, or it is possible they also may not, according to a study published in the April 8, 2020, online issue of Neurology. Researchers examined the association of air pollution levels and cognitive impairment and decline in participants in two large epidemiological studies. They found an association between the air pollution and cognitive decline in one study group but not in the other.
“As people live longer lives and the aging population grows, age-related cognitive decline is a growing public health concern with profound social, economic and health effects, so finding ways to reduce the risk is important,” said study author Erin R Kulick, Ph.D., M.P.H., of Brown University School of Public Health in Providence, R.I., and a member of the American Academy of Neurology. “Air pollution can affect large populations of people because it has known cardiovascular risks, and previous research has found that it may also contribute to cognitive decline. However, the results of our research were mixed.”
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