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Fri, 10 July 2020

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New report suggests air pollution may be linked to a heightened risk of developing dementia - Alzheimer's Society comments

Dr James Pickett, Head of Research | Alzheimer’s Society

1 min read Member content

Air pollution may be linked to a heightened risk of developing dementia, finds a London-based observational study, published in the online journal BMJ Open.


Although this study looked back at people’s medical records and suggested that air pollution might be responsible for a small percentage of them developing dementia, looking at all the other research in this area we believe that people should not be worried by this study.

Air pollution is a hot topic in dementia research, and there is evidence that exposure to air pollution can cause small particles to enter the brain, but it’s a huge leap to say that air pollution could lead to dementia and this study had several limitations. For example, researchers didn’t compare to people living in less polluted areas or factor in the postcode lottery that can affect a person’s chance of getting an accurate dementia diagnosis.

Someone in the UK develops dementia every three minutes and, with no new drugs in 15 years, prevention is key. We know that many factors, from heart health to diabetes and depression, can affect our dementia risk but we need more robust research into how pollution affects brain health before we can decide whether we should get out of the city and move to Emmerdale

Read the most recent article written by Dr James Pickett, Head of Research - Artificial intelligence predicts Alzheimer's years before diagnosis - Alzheimer's Society comment

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